Thursday, 7 April 2011

Let me rain on your parade this sunny day!

You can count on me!! A beautiful blue sunny day and I'm going to rain on it!

Today my victim was a french woman in the coffee shop who looked very glam in her bling stilletto's.

She was chatting to an older woman and I assumed they were friends but she was very friendly to everyone who walked in. (I was reading the Manager's folder about an NPL course he's doing, that's how I know, because it was distracting, but not in a bad way)

Then the Estimator came in and we're like, buddies, and he came to sit by me. A laugh and a joke about his not sharing a ham and aubergine meal he made his family on Tuesday and then the French woman joined the conversation, saying it was a great little coffee shop where strangers talk to each other.

"Zer is a bilingual school zat is opening up verry soon, you will get lots of paarents, 700 children!" she said to Manager, me and Estimator. "It will change the whole arrea, brring wealsy French peepul 'ere. I 'ope not snubs. I am not a snub."

I couldn't help myself.

"Yes, wonderful in one sense but an influx of wealthy people coming to the area will drive the rents up so the poor will be pushed out."

"Oh I don't know about zat, I don't sink so," she continued and I said "Yes!" and spoke about the planned regeneration in the area, Papier Mache Tower and all that being knocked down. Families rehoused but where? Children pulled out of schools...

"No," she said. "Ze council will not let that 'appen. Zey will re'ouse them zer and in ze new, better council flats. It's such a good opportunity for zem." She then told me that she lived in a council flat with her son, waited four years for it after he was born in 2001. A good opportunity for her; good.

"Alot has changed since then..."

"Anyway," she said, "zis new school will bring positive change to the aarea. Zer is only the lycee in Kensington, where my son goes, so it will be great to 'ave a new one 'ere. And bilingual! Better! New business will come, it is a perfect time for zat, it will bring jubs.."

"Bring high rents to flats people can't afford to live in!" I tell you, I can't help myself sometimes! "And since yesterday, yesterday, there have been cuts to housing benefit so these people are going to lose their homes. What you're talking about is the gloss and yes, it's great but I see the other side of that gloss.. " We chat about the cuts to housing benefit, the shortage of council flats and then I told her my story.

Oh I had to. I would love to carry the argument about other people but it's easier to place myself as one of the victims I'm talking about. People don't expect it, I don't think I look the "type". Whatever the "type" looks like in societies Sun and Mail fed assumptions.

She was suprised to hear I had a child, (really?!) that I'd been waiting eight years, I knew people on her estate (the "posh" one my old neighbour moved into!) She said flats were becoming available there (rengeneration!), that I should tell the council I'm paranoid and depressed so they'll rehouse me quicker (I laughed: "It didn't work!)

I had to run for my Boot Camp class. "Oh yes, oh yes, I 'ave to go too," - relief in her eyes.

Estimator and Manager were outide in the sunshine and laughed, making some comment that the woman didn't expect me to come along and well, rain on her parade.

"Oh it's the Tory view isn't it," I spat, right rankled though not at her, at at, everything! "I'm gonna go.." and I double punched the air, laughed at their laugh and sped off on Zat Bike, into the warmth and sun, my "Women's Self Defence" T-shirt in full view of the whizzing cars.

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