Monday, August 08, 2011

Crumpled, Crinkled and Chewed Up

One of my guilty pleasures in life, and yes, there are quite few in this vice-filled life of mine, is watching BBC period dramas. The latest of which happens to be this upstairs-downstairs piece called Downton Abbey. There is the usual cast of wealthy people, who go around fretting about stuff rich people fret about like inheritances, balls and teas. Then there are the poor people, who work for the rich folk and they go about fretting about the sordid stuff poor people fret about like sick babies, even sick-er moms and consumption. And once in a while, the director throws a love affair or a murder out there for the viewer to ponder about, just in case you got tired of the panoramic shots of the fancy house or were worn out by the wretched life of the scullery maid. So, in of the episodes, the servants scurry around in their early morning rituals, cleaning the fireplace, setting the bath, ironing the newspaper. It was this last activity that made me literally fall out of my cozy spot on the couch. I can understand the need to dust, in the absence of both vacuum cleaners and central air conditioning and heating. I also get the fact that a life without electricity means some one has to do the dirty job of building fires. But ironing the newspaper. Good grief! that is just plain pompous. Or so I thought, until this Sunday morning.

Picture this: The Gherkin has had a go at the morning newspaper, which now lies in pieces all over the kitchen floor. I pick up all the pages and set it aside. Later in the day, when there is a moment of piece and quite, I once again pick up that hurriedly assembled newspaper and try to read, try being the operative word here. The travel section has two pages missing which on closer inspection turn up inside the business section. The cartoons have been ripped diagonally and the ripped piece was then chewed, for added effect. And my favorite - the Outlook section is crumpled beyond repair. Suddenly, I wish I were Lord Grantham, with a minion for ironing out the crinkles in my newspaper, at my disposal. Since we live in enlightened times and more importantly since I can ill afford a newspaper ironing boy, I decide to do the next best thing available - ensure that the Gherkin does not get her paws into the newspaper before I have had a chance to read the darn thing.

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