On Having a Posh Voice
When you have a posh voice (lifting at the end of sentences to indicate you've at some stage changed your accent by force, natch) you often get asked to read at funerals.
So in the run up to the funeral, you have to worry about your text, your lines, your phrasing, your delivery. You have to think about your clothes - a pair of shit trainers sneaked in under the dark suit will reflect in the spotlight at the lectern, you'll never get away with it.
You have to deal with the clammy palms, the false starts, the rehearsal with the vicar, and the waiting in the apse for your cue.
As you wait, closer to the coffin than anyone else in the church, you recall what you had forgotten.
It's a funeral.
Someone you loved is dead and inside that box. That box right there.
Inevitably you cry. Because it's so sudden, so close to you, and you're alone, it's big lurching gulping sobs, not the snuffle of slow realisation you see in the congregation out front.
Nobody next to you has a tissue, because nobody is next to you. Nobody can lean over and squeeze your arm. Seeing your cousin snuffling doesn't help you, because your cousin's face is one in a sea of faces, all pointing up at you.
You have to wipe your nose on your sleeve, and practise gulping the snot down. You have to count to breathe evenly because your cue is coming. You have to remember to wipe your mascara upwards, because nobody's there to tell you that it's halfway down your face and glinting in the lamp's glitter. You need to get your voice back down an octave or two from strangulated sob to normal, because here's your cue.
You get to worry what people think of you. Whether they rolled their eyes when you fluffed a line.
Then you get to hope there's no toilet paper on your shoe, and your black jacket isn't covered in grey cat hairs as you descend the steps to the pews again, where for decorum's sake you'll sit at the end, with the smelly and eccentric aunties who need easy exit routes in case their incontinence pads don't last.
Nobody will say if you did okay or not, because nobody's interested in your reading. They're caught up in themselves.
Staring up at the altar, you're going to try to calm your breathing and your racing pulse back down so you can focus on the reason you're there - to think about and pray for the soul of the person who has died. You try to do this, but spend so much time feeling guilty for having not really thought about them much so far, having only cared about not fucking up your reading, that you're ushered out of the church on the arm of a relative you don't like before you got around to grief at all.
You posh voice affords you all these privileges. It never fucking gets you invited to speak at a wedding or a christening.
So that's why I'd rather get in the box myself than read at my granddad's funeral tomorrow. Okay?