Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Other Man

There is a man in my life who sees me in ways that only a husband should.  And a husband of longstanding at that.  And yet…he is not my husband.  This is a shameful thing to confess, but confess I do.  Every morning I wake up, minus make-up, hair dishevelled, and greet this man in the seductive attire of pyjama shorts and a mis-matched top.  This relationship is now in its eighth month.  Sometimes he leaves me little notes too.  There’s a parcel behind your wheelie bin.  Yes, I’m talking about my postman.
          Earlier this week, I greeted my postie possibly looking like his worst nightmare, and it dawned on me that postmen up and down the country must see an awful lot of ladies looking…well, not to put it too finely…rough.
          In fact, I know this is true.  Because I recently bumped into my postie in the local supermarket, said hello, and he didn’t know who I was.
          ‘It’s me,’ I beamed, ‘you don’t recognise me with my clothes on, do you!’ It was only then that I registered the flabbergasted woman standing next to him.
          ‘My postman!’ I explained.
          ‘My husband,’ she snapped.
          ‘Well, yes, of course,’ I gabbled, ‘and I’ve got one of those too,’ I assured.
          ‘Excellent. And I’m sure you wouldn’t want me greeting him in my birthday suit every morning.’
          ‘Oh, but I haven’t.  I mean didn’t.  I wear pyjama shorts you see.  And a top.  Obviously.  Well, apart from that time when he got me out the shower.  I had a towel around me on that occasion.’  Mrs Postie looked affronted.  This wasn’t what she wanted to hear.  ‘Absolutely lovely to meet you,’ I trilled.  ‘I’m just off to dig a big hole for myself under the tinned soup aisle.’  Well, I didn’t really say that last bit.  But I definitely thought it.  Why is it that the most innocent of things can sometimes become a minefield?
          In my old house, the door had stained glass windows.  So if the postie rang the bell, I was able to hide my pyjama shorts and mis-matched top behind the patterned glass and just poke out my head, as if on a lollipop stick, and take the proffered parcel.  In those days it was the dustmen I used to scare on a weekly basis.  There was many a Friday morning that I’d forget the bin men were coming.
          ‘Damn, the dustmen are here,’ I’d say to Mr V.  ‘Quick.  Go and put the bin out.’
          ‘I’m not dressed.  You put the bin out.’
          ‘I’m not dressed either.  I’m wearing my pyjama bottoms and mis-matched top.’
          ‘But I’m only wearing my underpants.’
          ‘I don’t care.  You’re the man of the house.  You do it.’
          ‘You’re always telling me that you run this house, so you do it.’
          ‘Oh for–’
          Followed by a crazed blonde catapulting out of the house and legging it after the dustcart with a wheelie bin bouncing in her wake.
          In my mother’s day, there was yet another man who used to find the ladies in a state of undress.  The milkman.  These days everybody buys their milk at the supermarket, but when I was a child the sound of the electric milk float was common place.  My mother would greet the milkman every morning, a vision in a nylon nightie and hair curlers.  Sometimes, if it was the weekend and she was hoping for a lie-in, she’d leave a note folded into the empties.
          ‘Dear Milkman.  Please leave an extra pint today.’
          On one occasion, her note was misunderstood.
          ‘Dear Milkman.  I missed you yesterday.  Do you have any strawberry yoghurts?’
          His reply:  ‘Strawberry yoghurts behind the planter.  And I missed you too.’
          Fortunately my father saw the funny side and recognised that our milkman had a sense of humour.
          One evening, my mother put the empties out and scribbled another of her hasty notes.  Never great at spelling, she didn’t realise that she’d asked him to leave an extra pint of paralysed milk.  Which reminds me.  Here are some genuine notes that have been left in milk bottles for the milkman:
          I’ve just had a baby.  Please leave another one.
          Cancel one pint after the day after today.
          Please close gate behind you as birds keep pecking the tops off the milk.
          Do not leave milk at Number 14 because he is dead until further notice.
          My child wants a milkshake. Do you deliver? Or do I shake the bottle?
          Please leave details about cheap milk as I’m stagnant…


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