We entered the pro-shop of the quite posh golf club in a slightly timid manner. This is because I always feel a little bit out of place in posh places. I always think I am about to get caught out and asked to leave. Luckily, I am now well-skilled in feigning poshness, so I was only slightly uncomfortable going to the pro-shop desk to check-in for our fast approaching tee-time.

The bored looking young lady behind the desk was sat on a high chair and on the phone. Her mobile phone. She examined her nails as the conversation continued.

“Yeah, so I don’t have my inhaler you see, and I’m a bit, like, wheezy and that.”

I looked at her and she made that hand gesture that means ‘just one second’. The gesture you generally do not make to paying customers.

“So I was wondering if it might be an asthma attack?” she continued, whilst looking closely at one slightly damaged cuticle.

“No.” she responded, to a question from the other side of the conversation.


“Not really”

“I guess not.”

Now, I do not have much experience with Asthma attacks, in fact the last one I witnessed was on a cross country run at school, and I used it as an excuse not to complete the run.  What I do remember is a sense of urgency from the kid having the attack.  It was obvious he was in trouble as his pleading look and inability to speak led to mass celebrations on my part for a legitimate excuse not to finish the run.  The state of his nails was not a priority.

I had thought this girl must be an asthmatic, due to her mention of an inhaler, but surely all asthmatics know what an asthma attack feels like? Isn’t a history of such attacks what technically defines you an asthmatic?

She wasn’t there when we finished our round, so maybe it was one of those slow burning attacks.


  1. Al · May 22, 2008

    So you didn’t ask her to play a round then Angry?

  2. Keef · May 22, 2008

    How common are asthmatics ? I’ve never seen anyone have an asthmatic fit or know anyone who’s told me they suffer from it. Are they rarer than I would have thought they are?
    I used to know someone at Uni who developed epilepsy when he was twenty but he wouldn’t stop drinking after he was diagnosed with it.
    He used to have fits in the pub and get us all thrown out because he would thrash about knocking over tables and drinks.
    Trouble was he had one behind the wheel eventually and put his car through someone’s garden wall and himself in hospital.
    The magistrates took his licence off him after that and he got seriously miffed about it but I have to admit I sided with the beak on that one.

  3. TheShrink · May 22, 2008

    You vicious, callous bastard.

    Isn’t it obvious? Her asthma’s triggered by a sensitivity to nail varnish remover, she’d got chipped nails and would get sacked from her posh job in a posh shop for looking a state, with shabby nails.

    She’s ‘phoning to problem solve and all you do is criticise.

    Do you want her to be sacked, to be unemployed?

    Some days, you’re so mean 8)

  4. Oli · May 22, 2008

    We can only hope.

    I hada friend who claimed to have cancer once, turned out to be a spot that ahdnt reached the surface yet.

  5. Curious · May 22, 2008

    She was trying to chat up a doctor without sounding too desperate…. i think…

  6. Z · May 22, 2008

    My neighbour died of an asthma attack. Maybe she did too?

  7. rob F · May 22, 2008

    I’ve got it, and I know exactly what an attack feels like.

    Maybe she was on the phone to her doctor and was looking for backup so that she could throw a sickie:

    “Boss, it’s my doctor – he says that if you don’t let me go home, I’m going to die…oh, what’s that? (ear to phone)…he says that it causes…’con-strickshun of the urrways’…yes, that’s it…so can I go now? I have an urgent appointment with him, right now…so just let me finish doing me nails and then I’ll be off, OK?”.

    Or alternatively:

    “Boss, I can’t breathe – my doctor will back me up (whilst on the phone to to the speaking clock), and he says that I need mouth-to-mouth right away. And maybe that lifesaving thing where you have to pump the chest – he says that you have to use both hands, and with a woman it’s more effective on the baps than anywhere else…ooOOOH!!!”.

  8. Léonie · May 22, 2008

    I like to think that she had invented a game for herself to stave off the yawning void of boredom that reception work involves. Perhaps everytime another customer came up she would say something different, like:

    “It’s just that I don’t have my crutches and that, and I am beginning to walk a bit funny, like.”

    “I was wondering whether my leg might have fallen off.”

    Or something. I think that’s a great game. Feign nonchalance whilst loudly dianogsing yourself with something life-threatening. Brilliant. I’m going to get myself a nail file and start straight away.

  9. Mystic Mog · May 22, 2008

    I got it – and when you get an attack you do’nt talk on the phone ! – you don’t talk at all – too much trouble breathing ! and anyway you’re lucky to have a female at the pro shop we got either a very hung over pro or his assistant a spotty youf

  10. Ian Deans · May 22, 2008

    Keef, asthma affects roughly one in ten adults in the UK, and around one in five children.

  11. Keef · May 22, 2008

    Ian Dean that’s absolutely fascinating and I don’t doubt you for a moment
    I’m sure there are some amongst the people I know vaguely of course and it’s just that I don’t know about them.
    But I got myself a pen and paper and listed my family, my in-laws, close personal friends and their families plus close colleagues.(Hey it’s a Friday afternoon) All the people I reckon I would or should know if they asthmatic and I get pushing a hundred and fifty people including thirty some children and none of them are asthmatic whereas statistically you’d expect a dozen adults and half a dozen kids.
    Granted this is hardly a proper scientific study and better than half my sample group is a member of one of two genetic pools (my kids have a LOT of relatives) but its still fascinating stuff for a Friday afternoon, Angry’s blog is better than Friday night down the pub for a source of riveting facts and trivia.

  12. Sam · May 22, 2008

    That’s some posh place if the receptionist died of an asthma attack whilst you were playing a few holes and no-one made a fuss.


  13. ninja chinchilla · May 22, 2008

    Keef – I think I know all the asthmatics instead. Me, several of my family (dad, sis and aunt for starters), several colleagues (including my boss), at least half a dozen friends, etc, etc are all sufferers.

    rob F – I’m going to have to remember that second one. It’s just a shame my boss isn’t David Tennant.