My use of it is to indicate something that is mean & paltry- hence, maltry. Not just paltry, but mean as well. I know many maltry people, & one of my friends had an employer she said was so mean, he wouldnt even use a full laugh! Just a strangled sort of nasal whinny. Maltry, we decided, fit it perfectly.
For a time, in one of my other lives, I worked in shoe shop. My two co workers initially, were old enough to be my mother & grandmother. Not a great deal of laughter went on in the shoe shop. Tending to people's footwear needs is not brain surgery, but you can meet some interesting characters. The downside of that is, you also meet some awfully whiffy feet!!
When I had been there for some time, the business was booming- it was on the crest of the style popular now, with one foot on display & racks of just the right foot, meant people could try on as many as they liked & when they needed the mate to try we could get it, & watch as they made their choice. Occasionally someone would steal some shoes, & often they would send a child back with the two right feet, & attempt to get a refund, or another pair of shoes.
Ineterviews were conducted, & I was invited to give my opinion on who seemed suitable. A nice young girl called Kaye was employed.
Kaye was young, pretty, bright & so hilarious. Many a day I would be crippled with laughter behind the racks of shoes. We made words up all the time, it became a hobby, & we had nicknames for all the passing parade of people who walked past the shop every day, on the way to their employment. Sometimes we laughed till we cried.
Looking back, the 2 older ladies were quite tolerant of Kaye & I with our hysterical laughter.
The older I get the more I appreciate people who are genuinely happy with their place in life. Their level, if you would. I did get a haircut yesterday. For once I was quite happy with the result. (Of course it looked great when I came out of the salon, but today, I can't seem to achieve the same end result.) Nevertheless I am happy with it, not too short, nor left too long. Even Gom commented it looked nice,
The man who cut it, has his own modest little salon. He has no airs or pretences. He is nice to customers & staff alike. He charges moderate prices & gives care & attention to his art. It makes him happy, he told me. He is not looking to retire yet, though I think he is 'old enough' chronologically. He says he likes his garden & growing vegetables, but it would not be enough to fill his days. He is married, happily. He is originally from Italy. He loves his life here. A truly happy man.
Gom was such a man when he was a Publican. It was what he loved, so he never felt he worked a day in his life. He enjoyed people, was very good at calming alcohol befumed brains, & rarely lost his temper at anyone.
He was attacked with a large walking stick, which broke in half on his watch when he put his arm up, to defend himself. The stick broke, & a piece flew into a young girl's face, cut it badly, & she almost lost an eye. He has had a gun held to his temple, when he was robbed. He was once whacked in the groin with a large shoe when a huge Lesbian had an enormous row with her partner. As it happened one of our Barmaids was a Lesbian, & her partner was furious, as she said Gom was one of the nicest men she had ever met. She leapt upon the offender & shoved her out the door!
He has had his suit coat ripped in half, his cheekbone fractured, after being shoved into a wall. He still loved being a Publican, & he did run a tidy hotel most of the time. Alcohol will always bring about the unexpected, but Gom did not drink while working, & he always said, if you are not drinking you have the advantage of your wits. I have never seen him afraid of anyone.
When we owned our Country Hotel, we had the toilet stolen, -yes the whole pan, ripped out of the floor!- the lights smashed, furniture broken. All sorts of things happened in that country hotel, & the worst offenders were the students at the nearby Agricultural College. Gom even got them whipped into line, & cut down on the the damage & drunkenness, to the local policeman's undying gratitude. We did make a lot of wonderful friends, & had some great hilarious times.
It was never my choice of life, but Gom was so happy, & it was as though he was born to it. He misses it still, & it is a shame he has no hobbies to replace his time spent 'working', which he regarded as his hobby.
Have you ever noticed that we seem to eat with our eyes, as much as our actual appetite?
Those huge square platters with small stool- like piles of little bit of things like spiach, minced, or pumpkin pureed. Then the urine-like trails, of various sauces, or jus, or salsa splattered about. Finished off with 2 crossed
Have you notice how starving you feel after eating one of those? How ripped off you feel, when huge wads of money are transferred from your account to pay for the scraps of food you actually recieved.
Have you ever been eating some item, & absentmindedly put it down, then suddenly realising your stomach is telling you, 'But wait, there was more!'?
I find the smaller the actual dinner plate, the more I feel I have eaten. So trying to trick myself into dieting might be worth trying.
On the other hand, I am really put off by overly large servings of things sometimes. I see some photos from Restaurants in the USA boasting of the size of the meals, & I just feel sick to look at it.
Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman.