Thursday, July 25, 2002

Things my girlfriend and I moan about

A friend who I seldom see anymore has a rule: when somebody calls him from another room he doesn't answer because he thinks the caller is being lazy. I like this rule, it's a principle in practice. I'd love to think I'm as assertive with my principles, so when Emma phones me up whilst I'm ambling down Oxford Street looking for a suit for Penny's wedding and asks me to get a pint of milk from the Tesco 45 miles from where I stand, and not 150 yards from her, why do I do it?

Emma is on school holiday, she gets a lot of holiday a year. If I put this to her, she says that a. she deserves it and b. what is she supposed to do? teach an empty classroom? My answer to this is a. yes she does, she works exceptionally hard and is very good at her job, I want her to have a nice time on holiday and b. no of course I don't but I would like her to do a few house chores as well as shopping, and making grand interior design plans. She tells me how unreasonable I am, and looks at me like I am not a liberal happy go lucky chappy, but a miserable sexist misogynist who doesn't want a girlfriend but a slave. Then I feel bad and travel 45 miles to get a pint of milk, but consider this...

Emma works approximately 1290 hours a year, and has 390 hours of holiday, she therefore needs to work 3.3 hours for an hour of holiday. I work 1680 contracted hours a year, and have 154 hours holiday, I have to work 15.3 hours for an hour of holiday. Emma justifies her 390 hours holiday by saying that the extra hours she puts in during term justifies the extra holiday. We can therefore assume she is working, like me, 15.3 hours for every hour of holiday, which nobody sees because it's done at home, for each of the 390 hours of holiday, she works an additional 12 hours outside her contracted time or, an extra 4,680 hours a year. Now if she works 1290 hours a year, or 215 days, that means she's doing 21 hours overtime every day, working 27 hour days. She gets to work by 8am, which means she's working until 11am the next morning. Emma stops working on the previous day three hours after she gets up for the next day! In her career so far she's worked five months more than she's actually lived, in her mind it's Christmas! So where are my presents?

Now, she's not currently wearing Christmas knitwear and singing carols so am I really being unreasonable to ask her to dedicate some of the 13 weeks of holiday to the tedium of chores?


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