One of my favorite columns in the media is Mrs. Moneypenny, in the weekend FT, written by a woman who admits to being overweight and somewhat deaf — but who clearly makes a ton of dough, is learning to fly a private plane and goes off on shooting weekends on country estates.
Loved her latest:
It can be sobering to learn what other people think of you. I am not alluding to my 360-degree appraisal, but something worse. Observant Olivia has moved from being my guardian angel to another, more grown-up job in our company and has written a 15-page manual on how to look after me, in order to assist her successor. But 15 pages? How long does it take to explain how to retrieve my BlackBerry from the black cab lost property office?
I am not sure OO’s document was meant for my consumption, but I had a look anyway. The contact details of my immediate family, my parents, and even the names of my dogs, are all there, as you might expect. But reading on, I learned that Mr M, apparently, is to be e-mailed my updated diary once a fortnight. Since when?
Some of the comments are nice: “Mrs M is very clever at sending thoughtful presents,” says one. Others imply, correctly, that I can be less than organised. “Go through Mrs M’s handbag when she gets in; check she has enough business cards, put her keys, hearing aid and make-up back in the bag and ask her about any paperwork.”
There are few public occasions when you discover, in a nice way generally, what others think of you: graduation, a milestone birthday, a book party, a wedding.
(Sadly, the Internet has allowed as much random toxicity as international expressions of affection; my least favorite amazon.com review of “Malled” describes me [!] as “bitter, pretentious and lazy, lazy, lazy.”)
In my wedding reception toast to Jose, I lauded the three Cs that made me want to marry him: his courage (and encouraging me through life’s challenges); his character (doing the right thing, quickly and automatically) and his company, and how much I enjoy it.
He referred to my “enlightened innocence” and insatiable curiosity about the world.
We then asked all of our 24 guests to tell us all how they met us, but in so doing they also talked about us. In describing me, the words “intense, passionate” and “high energy” all cropped up. One woman said I “give good phone” and have a “highly developed sense of outrage.”
What have you been told about yourself — and when and by whom — that surprised you?