First World Problems by Emily Smart

pool man

A Stressful Start to the New Year

It’s not been a good week. The pool pump/filter at the place we’re house sitting stopped working at the weekend. I rang the pool man, and waited in for a horny geezer with a moustache and a dodgy accent to turn up. When the lovely, super-friendly Zeb arrived to ‘check out my equipment’, I felt bad for pool men everywhere who have been tarred with the 70s porno movie brush. Anyway, there wasn’t enough water in the pool – who’d have thought – which meant the pump couldn’t function and we might have inadvertently blown the unit while trying to start it. Zeb informed me this would cause squillions of dollars of damage and he wouldn’t know if this was the case until the next day when the pool had been filled. I was worried.

Next up, one of the rabbits at the aforementioned pool house was missing. I couldn’t even remember what he looked like, never mind pick out a looky-likey at the shop. Meanwhile, Pippy the anorexic, slightly neurotic cat I’m feeding for a neighbour hadn’t been seen for a couple of days.

To add to the stress, my WOF (warrant of fitness, the equivalent of an English MOT) was overdue. I took the three kids with me to the WOF garage to get it sorted. The world and his wife were there. It took ages. The kids fought. I shouted a lot and got a mixture of sympathetic looks from fellow WOFers and ‘should I call the police that woman’s having a nervous breakdown’ glances from others.

The car failed the test. We had to go over the road and get two new tyres fitted. My credit card looked at me when it came to paying the bill and I could hear it quietly whimper, ‘No, don’t use me again, remember the bailiffs.’ We then went back to the queues at the garage to wait for a two second tyre inspection and the thumbs up from the mechanic. It was possibly the longest morning of my life.

Rejection Angst

Then there was yesterday. Not one, but two rejection letters for jobs I had applied for before Christmas. Were these prospective employers in cahoots? Did they plan to say ‘no thanks’ on the same day, on a bad week, at the start of a brand spanking New Year? Do you know, I was grateful that they wrote back and told me, having applied for jobs in the past and not heard a thing. One email declining to pursue my application was well crafted and upbeat and the other, went a bit like this (ok verbatim):

Dear Emily

Thank you for your recent application for the advertised position. We have received a significant number of responses and the calibre of the candidates was of a high standard.  

Regrettably you were not successful on this occasion, however thank you for your application and I wish you every success in finding a suitable position in the near future. 



I know, funny name right?

I didn’t dwell on the rejection much yesterday, but found myself awake in the middle of the night re-reading the letter in my mind, which went something like this:

Dear Emily

You applied for a job and so did loads of other people that were soooo much better qualified and more capable than you are.

Sorry that you are so shit, shit, shit, shitty shit shit at what you do.



The Way Forward

At times like this I hate being a woman. Raw emotion kicks in, self-doubt, over-analysis, a look back at a life full of failures. Ah to be a man and just worry about my dangly bits.

So what’s the upshot? Should I apply for a job at my local supermarket and stop going for roles that are clearly out of my reach? Should I beat myself up for days about not being good enough? Should I start lying about my age, get Botox for my furrowed brow, lose 5 stone and try and pass for a younger, better model?

Nah, I’m just thankful the rabbit and cat returned, the swimming pool is working again and the pump didn’t blow up. No doubt there will be more rejection letters over the next few months, but in the meantime you’ll find me and the kids mucking about at the pool.



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