If I close my eyes really, really tightly and concentrate hard I can almost think myself back to the Zen like tranquillity of the Palace on the Upper East Side - cue dreamy music and blurred camera work...
fat-free, carb-free, gourmet meals arrive on the table as if by magic (though if I'm honest, I was dreaming of butter, cheese and bread by about mid week) and where day and night are delineated by the cheek-popping sound of the first bottle of wine being uncorked at around five thirty. I'm on the bed that is like sleeping on the breast of a fat Circassian courtesan, smooth, soft and yielding (if I fancied women, I'd only be interested in someone of about the same dimensions as a pre diet Sophie Dahl and don't all rush to tell me that she wasn't fat, because me and Marks and Spencer know that) with my favourite male curled up in my arms - Butrous of the yellow eyes and black fur who, without speaking, still manages to convey more affection that anyone else I know. I have nothing to do and all day to do it in - maybe a walk down Madison Avenue to indulge in kitchen porn at Williams Sonoma or Crate and Barrel (from where I've already bought a completely essential cold drink jar for all those al fresco summer parties I'm not planning either to hold or to serve Pims), or a trip up to the Neue Gallery, or a wander in Central Park. In the evening there's a dinner, or a cocktail party, or a show and my only requirement is to put on some lipstick and a dress and walk out to the sidewalk where Manny is waiting in his extendible limo that goes from sedan to stretch in the time it takes him to drive round the block. Ahhhhhhhh. Why was I ever stressed about being stuck there?
And then, damn it, I wake up, bolt upright in my own lumpen, empty, bed and it's 4am and I suddenly realise I haven't picked up my Syrian visa for my trip next month (where, please Volcano - don't let me get trapped), or made an appointment to have my prescription renewed, or sent the author copies that I should have done yesterday, or summarised the 46 page document that's been sitting on my desk since Monday, or checked the forest of mousetraps that my son set before he left home without telling me where they were, which every now and again snap ominously from somewhere in the dark reaches of the increasingly desolate house... Since my neighbour died the house next door has been empty and I can't wait until Pandora Posh and Crispin move in with their 2.2 poshini so they can start killing their share of the rodents. At the moment it's only me with a handful of Rentokil traps against the rest of mouseworld. Think me as King Leonidas in the posters for 300, without the beard and with a jar of peanut butter instead of a sword. I could of course just get my own Butrous substitute who would bravely go and kill the mice for me, when not purring in my arms, but I don't want a male who pees in a box living with me. Not full time.
But to backtrack, yes, that's the other news that happened while I was sleeping, I mean lost in luxury-land, my eldest son packed in his job and announced he was moving to Wales to live with his girlfriend. For the first time in living memory his room is tidy. And deserted. I mean, think tumbleweed (tidy he can do, dust, however seems to be an unknown concept). Youngest told me I was soon to be a "sad, pathetic woman living all alone in a big, empty house, or having people 'pay' me to live there..." when I countered the first accusation with the desire to get lodgers. I don't think it's such a bad prospect. Even if you end up living with people who don't like you much, at least they are handing over cash for the displeasure and, if they tell you they hate you, you can evict them.
However, I may have to get rid of my other tenants first. The youngest should be off to Uni in September. The mice, though, never seem to bloody go anywhere.