Monday, February 08, 2010

Meet Glinda, Darlin'

Today I got a new bike. I reserved it a few weeks ago, making the kind of decision I like to make ("That one's nice. And it's on sale? I'll take it. No, I don't need to see the others.") and finally today managed to actually go and collect it. Complete with basket, helmet, lights, wheels, brakes and those other things you're meant to have. Pedals, that's it.

She's light blue, and more elegant than I could ever hope to be. I have decided to call her Glinda, after the Good Witch of the North. If she was a human she would have blonde ringlets and shy away from swearing. She would wear pastels and gilets and never have missed work because she was hungover on a Wednesday. Her notebook would be covered with line drawings of kittens and she would say "golly" a lot. In spite of all of this, I like Glinda, and suspect that she will be a good influence.

Ben and I cycled to B&Q today. My first outing on Glinda. She went calmly and without a fuss, as if B&Q is her natural home. It isn't of course, now that I have decided she is female. I'm not saying women can't cope with B&Q, I just mean that I feel like the workers there, all men, clustered around bits of wood talking about padlocks, looked at me a bit askance as I trailed in behind Ben. I crept past the planers, singing their siren song to a few unfortunate men who stood lost in woodwork dreams. I was dwarfed in the roofing aisle, where glorious clouds of loft insulation billowed to infinity. We discussed shelving and stuff that makes damp rooms less damp, then Ben piled our spoils into his trailer and we set off home again.

Back home and Ben clomped about in our diminutive yard, affixing all three bikes to some heavy weights and chains, while I made some tea. (Finally, back from B&Q, in the kitchen messing about with jam, where I belong. What a relief! Please note: I am embroidering this blog post.)

Where we live you have to weigh things down to prevent them being nicked. (That is why I have been eating more crisps recently.) When my family was up this weekend, my Dad wandered into our kitchen, gazed out over the redbrick terraces, and began quietly to whistle the Coronation Street theme tune. I do not want Glinda to get stolen. Other people might not know she's a Good Witch, and just think of her as some kind of mode of transport. The horror! Luckily she is sleeping restfully underneath some lovely blue tarpaulin with two bodyguards. I might sneak out in the middle of the night with some faux fur and a sleeping mask.

I have been meaning, recently, to write about a word I hate. Darlin'.

It isn't principle. It's experience. It reminds me of being addressed by patronizing, put-you-in-your-place men. It's the lexical equivalent of a wink and a gentle bum squeeze. Thanks, darlin'. You're a love, you're a star, oh, that's lovely, darlin'. Just take your top off and make us a brew, be a love. Cheers, darlin'.

Not all men are Like That, very few, in fact. I'm not being sexist, most men I know wouldn't, you know. You're looking fresh you're looking so good, oh I could just. Have you washed your hair, it's looking nice. You're looking. Nice. How could I not believe blue eyes like that? Stand still, let's have a look.

(Laughter) Don't, you're scaring her!

(I'm not scared, I'm being sick in my mouth.)

Stand still. While I mentally undress and airbrush.

I'll have some salt and vinegar crisps, please, darlin'. Those ones, on the bottom shelf. Not really, just wanted to see how you bend over! S'alright, darlin', I'm only kidding. Just a joke! Don't look so. She's scared, you've scared her!

Slavering eyes and indulgent chuckles.

Sorry, darlin'. Thanks, love.

It isn't principle. It's association. Most men aren't Like That but those who are stick in my mind and my ears with their comments and their obsequious false respect.

I know why I hate that word. How can I sum all this up? Does that make sense?

Tomorrow I will take Glinda for a spin, after I have been to Birmingham and back (on the train. I am not over-estimating my cycling prowess quite that much). I am hoping that, as a good witch, she will be able to plow over any sleaze who calls me darlin'.

Mmm, nice (pannier) rack.


Blogger stanleygoodspeed said...

God bless Glinda, and all who sail in her.

Just discovered your blog - like the way you write (although I'm still not entirely about how to pronounce your name), will be back. Darlin'.

5:01 pm

Blogger GayleODonovan said...

Great Blog, will check in again - the Darlin' thing resonates with me!

6:58 pm

Blogger Wierdo said...

I am very jealous! I haven't had a bike (let alone a witch) for years as I used to live on top of a mountain where every trip involved up-hill-ness. But now I really want a bike to sit besides my boyfriends one in the shed. *sigh*

5:10 pm

Blogger Huw said...

I have been encouraged to adopt Darlin'. The tribunal said it would be a step up from my normal wink and gentle bum squeezes. Apparently.

8:27 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Yay for Glinda. My car is female too. I call her Miss Daisy because I drive her. :)

I understand your distaste for the word darlin'. I heard it a lot from an older waitress when I started working when I was 14. It was sweet coming from her and I thought, when I'm older, I'm going to call people those things because it put me at ease, so I thought it would put everyone at ease. Sometimes, I've noticed this is not true and people don't like you feeling too familiar. But most often people are ok w/ it. From men it's strange. But a stewardess once called me 'baby girl' when addressing me sweetly to move my bag under the seat. It was disarming, but made me laugh more than anything..

8:37 pm

Anonymous オテモヤン said...


9:11 pm

Anonymous Jonathan said...

I can't believe you gave your bike a name. If they have to have names, can mine be called "My Bike"?

"My Bike" got a cold shower this morning with the hosepipe - to wash off the mud pack it had been enjoying for the last 2 weeks :)

1:22 pm

Blogger Ellie said...

I would have thought you would imagine your bike to be a rainbow coloured pony!

4:38 pm


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