Saturday, 7 June 2008

How to win friends and influence people....

We have had friends staying with us this week,  from that there London-village. They were intrigued. How come, they asked, after only a short six months of living out in the middle of nowheres-ville, the locals are treating us like one of their own? How come the farmers wave hello each morning, the chef comes out of the pub kitchen for a chat and we have already been approved as a foster-family for next season's orphaned lambs? (Oh yes, it's true! Not only can lesbian and gay couples foster actual children, we can also foster orphaned lambs! How cool is that?)

How come a lesbian couple plus Badger-ish friend are so warmly accepted?  Is it Stray's minor celebrity status (she used to be on the tele-box y'know) or the fact that they get free counselling over a pint from me? Neither of these, of course. Our secret weapon is Badger.
Badger, for those of you who don't keep up, has Tourette syndrome.  

TS is a neurological disorder which gives rise to motor and verbal tics which can feel impossible to control, as Badger described in her Post of the Week winning post here. Perhaps as a result of this - or possibly it is entirely unrelated - Badger has the remarkable knack of just being herself with whomever she comes into contact with. 

Most of us will invest a significant amount of energy in monitoring or controlling our impulses and behaviours in order to make ourselves as acceptable as possible to others. Inevitably we end up projecting out our internal critic and responding to others accordingly. It all gets terribly messy and before we know it we are engaging with an imagined process rather than a genuine relationship.  Badger's world doesn't permit for this.
Although the received wisdom is that people with TS swear uncontrollably, the vast majority have physical and/or verbal tics which aren't remotely offensive. Badger, for sure, doesn't have the get-down-and-dirty rap version.

Badger has the Jane Austen remix.

Life with Badger is punctuated mostly with  Goodness Gracious Me!!'s, Lordy Lordy!!'s and Sweet Baby Jesus!!'s, all delivered in the deepest Surrey accent.  She is the secret love-child of Anne of Green Gables and Mr Darcy.

Which is how come Badger is our secret weapon. She delights people. She utterly disarms them until it is impossible not to warm to her. Badger is always just Badger, and I suspect others find this strangely liberating. 

Every home should have one. 



Caroline said...

I really really love Badger and my children do too. Can we steal your Badger? Please.


Stray said...

No! No Badger stealing! However, you are welcome to borrow our Badger from time to time ... assuming she agrees of course.

I love the fact that everybody loves Badger and then by association accepts us, without me actually having to do all that scary socialising stuff. Perfect :)

All children love Badger by the way - they are completely fascinated by her. Badger says that at school she was very much in the 'uncool' group, with the fat kids and the ginger kids ... but Badger is the coolest person we know by a long way.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey darling Cas, as it happens we all really love your children. Perhaps we could borrow them for the weekend instead?!

Badger said...

:) hee!

I am coming home tomorrow - I will be home in time for tea! Your peace and quiet is about to end.

Schmow! Oh, and Russ smashed a load of rotten eggs on my leg today (by mistake of course) - it smelt so bad... now that is no way to make friends.

Badger xx

Ms Melancholy said...

Schmow too! We have missed your schmows this week, little Badger.

(schmow being Badger's latest tic...each time she says it I get a burst of Tears For Fears Shout in my head, and so I have a kind of reactive Tourette's thing going on. I have tried to persuade her to develop a tic reminding me of a song I actually like, but apparently TS doesn't work like that.)

Drive carefully Badger. See you in time for tea, but please make sure you have washed your trousers before you come home (!) xxx

Reading the Signs said...

Lucky you, Ms M. Lucky Badger too. Win win.

Chips said...

Where do we sign up? Is there a waiting list?

Böbø said...

I do hope you're bringing Badger to visit Hullaballoo and me this weekend!

And if we got you a bit tipsy and you forgot to do a head-count on the way back, who could blame us? Who!

Stray said...

Chips darling - there may be a waiting list for Badger visits, but Badgers are for life and not just for Christmas, so if you've a yearning for a more regular dose of Badger then you'll have to find your own.

Dear Bobo, I shall have to consult the Badger calendar. She's a very popular Badger you know.

Your wicked plan is foiled dear Bobo by the fact that us recovering alchies aren't allowed to get tipsy. I should thank you for having revealed another silver lining to this whole sobriety thang: I shall never get drunk and accidentally leave my Badger somewhere.

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