Thursday, August 7, 2008

Let's have a crack at this thing...

OK, this time last year I had certainly heard of blogs, but I didn't know anyone who actually had one. Since then, my good friend Givinya has been entertaining me on a regular basis. I don't know how she does it, but in amongst all the things that happen around her she manages to create a space where the world is more manageable, and in which I would like to live. So here goes my attempt...
.
.
.
Well, nothing interesting has actually happened to me...
.
.
.
Hmmm...
.
.
.
Oh, there was...
.
.
.
Nevermind...
.
.
.
Maybe I should start by explaining why I chose my blog title. In the 1980s BBC sit com "Yes Minister" Jim Hacker, the Minister for Administrative Affairs, decides to do something about equal opportunities for women in the British Civil Service. In the time honoured practice of bureaucrats everywhere his Permanent Secretary (Sir Humphrey Appleby) tries to evade questioning - on the principle that stalling will make the undesirable issue go away.
.
'How many Permanent Secretaries,' I asked Sir Humphrey, 'are there at the moment?'
'Forty-one, I believe.'
A precise answer.
'Forty-one,' I agreed pleasantly. 'And how many are women?'
Suddenly Sir Humphrey's memory seemed to fail him. 'Well, broadly speaking, not having the exact figures to hand, I'm not exactly sure.'
'Well, approximately?' I encouraged him to reply.
'Well,' he said cautiously, 'approximately none.' (1)
.
.
Ever since I first saw this on TV, my sense of humour has been tickled. 'None' is absolute: There are no shades of grey. And yet, it is possible to pretend that there is a modicum of degree. In my previous life in Local Government I have seen people trying to create the same illusion of choice or degree where there is precisely none.
.
It follows into my non-work life.
'How many children do you have, dear?' asks the little old lady at church.
My brain madly searches for any reference to Children of My Own, which I am obviously meant to have by my age. As if I could have somehow missed the tiredness, body-swelling, nausea, or excruciating pain apparently caused by pregnancy and childbirth, 'Approximately None' I quip.
.
Why do I never get recognition for my witty literature/TV references? Sigh.
.
So here I sit at my computer, ready and waiting to blog. During the last couple of weeks, while I've been thinking about this whole concept of blogging, ideas have come from everywhere. Some touching, some amusing, all worth putting finger-tips to keyboard. How many can I now remember?
... Approximately None.
.
.
.
(1) Ed. J Lynn & A Jay (1987) The Complete Yes Minister Salem House Publishers

14 comments:

Givinya De Elba said...

Delighted to see you have started blogging! Some days you have many things to write about, other days: approximately none.

Chuffed to be your first commenter!

Crazy Sister said...

Humphrey had some FANTASTIC lines, didn't he! I remember Givinya giving a church report on a kids program, saying that on the first day the attendance in round numbers was about zero.

I ALWAYS try to talk to people about stuff that's not kids. It's incredibly hard. It's like trying to talk to someone at length on a freezing cold day WITHOUT mentioning the weather. Kids are the weather some of us are in.

And I am very interested in your dog. I have approximately no dogs, but am dog-clucky. Hubby and I don't see eye to eye though - maybe we need to attend Pet Planning courses.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your blog Jen! Hope that it's not too cold in your part of Qld today. Dani

Hippomanic Jen said...

Dear Crazy Sister,
I have no problem talking to people and hearing about their kids. It's just that as soon as I say we have none the conversation stops, never to be recommenced. As if I have no interest in children and what's going on in the lives of others. THAT's the problem.

Crazy Sister said...

Ah, I see. Well, better to have the conversation grind to a halt than have someone ask you if all your parts are in working order!

I told a parent of a large family that I was done with babies cause it's just too hard. I think he mentally deleted me from his list of people to talk to in the future!

Hippomanic Jen said...

You are so right about the alternative. I'd forgotten those wonderful individuals who do carry the conversation onto whether I've made a decision not to have kids, or what the problems is. "Have we tried (insert favourite child producing methodology here)". Everyone's an expert.

Hippomanic Jen said...

Doh! Problems ARE or PROBLEM is. I know, I know.

Leslie said...

How you doing up north today?

Cool and drizzly down here in Canberra this morning. :)

femina said...

A big WTBAY Hello! I missed the Yes Minister reference (and I feel ashamed) but now I'm having flashbacks to different episodes. Every time I pour tea from a pot I say, "I'll be mother, shall I?" and no one EVER gets it as a Yes Minister quote... it makes me sad...

le said...

hello Jen - I love your rational for the blog title ...

hee hee le

ps having been a local govt girl myself I know what you mean !!

Dee said...

I love your blog title, and how you work it into your posts. Clever.

Joce said...

I never bothered with the clever title thing, so feel a bit left out. I also never really watched Yes Minister, though I do enjoy your sense of humor and pop-culture references. Am going to enjoy exploring your blog, Jen. :)

June Saville said...

Love this Jen
I understand what you're on about. Firstly, Jim Hacker et al are among my favourite people. Second - I spent years as a journalist covering local government for one of the big Sydney dailies - enough said?
Cheers
June

Simone R. said...

Hi Jen.

Just found your blog. Remember me?

Enjoying reading about your last 6 months.

Simone