Thursday, December 16, 2010

Airs and graces

A man tapped me on the shoulder when I was in the butcher's today. He said, 'Hello, how are you?' In itself that wouldn't be particularly important but I haven't seen him for about 35 years. He was a lecturer in university but not in my subject. I knew him to say hello to because his wife's mother was the best friend of my great-aunt. (Did you follow that?)

Beryl, his wife, was just an ordinary girl from a little terraced cottage but she committed the ultimate sin in the eyes of the village: she put on airs and graces. 'Who does she think is? Just because he's a professor.'

1 comment:

nick said...

Northern Ireland is much the same. One of the biggest sins you can commit is "losing the run of yourself", meaning getting above yourself. People take a great pride in treating other people as equals, whether they're professors, plumbers or the lollipop person. It's very refreshing compared with the rampant status-anxiety in London.