Monday, 20 February 2012

I sit on the tube and close my eyes to make the world go away.  I'm too old for this: The right words from the wrong person for all the wrong reasons.

The two glasses of wine I drank at lunch time make me sleepy and befuddled but as we lurch into Marble Arch, the train jolts my eyes open and I find myself under the scrutiny of the  line of commuters opposite me staring like I'm a specimen in a display case.  Middle Aged Woman with Face Even Botox Cannot Save and Large Blemish on Chin,  Giacommeti head, Botero body, reflected in the window behind them.

I'm wearing a red dress and have felt, all day, like I should be handing out samples for the Special K diet.  But it was that or the pink one that makes me look like a politician's wife according to my youngest daughter.  'I'm going to open a fete,' I joked to a colleague the last time I wore it.  'Really - that's amazing,' he replied, believing me.  The Sam Cam style does not become me.

One of my fellow commuters looks like a Mormon on his proselyting year abroad painted by Stanley Spencer, and has a jade tinge to his skin that gives him more than a passing resemblance to something that's been dead, or undead, for a while. He twist his long spindly ET fingers with Lady MacBeth angst.  I feel sure this has nothing to do with me, though his eyes don't flicker away when I stare back but keep examining me.  Next to him, an Asian man whose index finger is a down-turned sad clown face over his mouth, shifts his gaze to my right ear, as if to pretend he had been contemplating this, and not the small planet on my chin, all this while.  On his left, a bald man in a yellow hill-walker's anorak, with a daytime Radio 2 presenter's face, drops his eyes and resumes his texting. 

I look to the other side.  Mormon man is still transfixed but his neighbour, a shaven headed chap in plimsolls and a pin-striped jacket blinks and examines the space in the middle distance between us.  Damn.  I wonder if I've been snoring.  No way to know.  In my head there's a running commentary from the person I just had lunch with, but all around me are mute, except for the disembodied voice of the underground who announces that the next station is Lancaster Road.

I thought I was going off to meet a man about a job, but apparently not.   I'm too old for the casting couch.  And for what?  A book review paying twopence ha'penny  for 500 words that he forgets to bring with him, and so far has forgotten to send?  And even if it had appeared.  I still have to read the damn book beforehand.

He thought we'd go to the Savoy for an afternoon of passion.

Really, and what am I supposed to do then?  Congratulate myself on an afternoon of good shagging and go back whistling as I work? Do middle aged men know anything about middle aged women?

I don't want an afternoon in the bloody Savoy unless it's with a man whose going to come home with me afterwards and put out the garbage.  I may have got rid of all my children and a husband, but then why would I want somebody else's?  I've been the leavings on the side plate of my own marriage, and now I should willingly step up to be scraped off the dish of someone else's?  Sod that.  I want someone who will buy a dog with me, and then walk it.  I want his and hers cats and a holiday companion who will drive across Europe with me, who will come round on Boxing Day for a second Christmas, and pick me up from the airport when I come back from a trip.  I want someone who will wind their arms round me in the morning and kiss the back of my neck before he gets up, and be back in the bed in the evening.  I want someone who will share grandchildren, and a wide bath with a handrail for when we get arthritic.

'If you want a mistress who doesn't rock the boat of your outwardly perfect marriage then I suggest you look around the wives of your married friends and see who is the most discontented, and tip your hat at her,' I said,'but women like me - we're on a different page of the almanac all together.'

He blinked.  Like I was imparting the secrets of the universe.

'Maybe she too is in an unsatisfactory relationship but doesn't want to lose her spa membership, her half of the pension plan and the house in Essex with the three car driveway, and for whom the idea of a matinee in town, a vegi-burger and two glasses of Sancerre followed by a suite in Savoy afterwards would be a welcome distraction.'  But that's not me...

Not even with a book review thrown in.

Now a two book deal - that's another question all together.  Then I'd settle for a couple of hours in a Travelodge. And the vegi-burger would be optional.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

I have on my desk the three major food groups of weight loss:  Salt, Aspartamine and MSG, namely Instant Soup (providing a two-fer), soya sauce and Diet Coke.  I'm guessing that alcohol, currently top of my dysfunctional food pyramid at least provides a bit of variety as well as most of my calorie intake.  In the SMEG I currently have four kinds of vodka; while several different grapes have been blended to provide the contents of my wine rack. I'm a gourmet.  Heston, eat your heart out