Sunday, 22 July 2012

I've been silently scribbling elsewhere for a while.  Numbers two, three and four unfinished novels.

And watching a lot of boxed sets.

And Scandinavian dramas.

In bed.

Nothing like a subtitle for transforming something essentially rather shut-in sad and desperate into 'high-brow and educative'.  I always feel a great deal cleverer when I've watched a sub-titled film, though the bar is low, readers, the bar is low.

This weekend, as some of you navigating here from the furthest reaches of the universe, will already know, I've outed myself in the increasingly slim pages of the Guardian Weekend Section, as lonely.   I wrote it in February when I was wailing with it, full of dread and empty of people, coming back to this normal three bedroom semi that becomes a cavern of lost dreams and a monument to my own total lack of significance to anyone but the cat, who frankly, has more allegience to the box of Whiskas crunchies than me.  But breezing quickly past that, into the present - I'm not lonely this weekend.  Rather too companioned up if the truth be known.  The house full of hungover YA in boxer shorts and political t-shirts that urge one to Resist (what exactly, I'm not sure) while lolling around eating vegeburgers in front of a Modern Family marathon, as dishes hold a conference round the kitchen sink discussing the great unwashed crisis of 2012.

The lodger returned from an all nighter with a bag of shopping that the fridge will not accommodate; the university returnee is still wading through a term's worth of washing and the dryer beeps and beeps and beeps plaintively to be empied of its load, though I want to warn it that the next step to freedom is only a lengthy internment in the refugee camp on the kitchen table, in a manner of folded, surrounded by the food that I'm supposed to be transforming into dinner tomorrow night.

Before I published this article I decided I had to Make an Effort.  Well me and the aptly named Lyrica, which the doctor pushed on me for back pain and which transformed me overnight from depressed and agonised  Marion to two-drinks drunk, slightly manic, depressed, but miraculously almost pain-free Marion, which simultaneously robbed me of my ability to concentrate on anything, even angst, and filled me instead with energy and the desire to paint the glass jars that now house my alphabetised lentils, and revitalise my non-existent social life by again beginning the cycle of inviting people to eat in my house, most of whom will never, ever invite me back. 

I love dinner parties.  In your house.  I love being served, eating food I haven't cooked. Even overeating food I haven't cooked, with the vampirical hope that Mr Right will be another of the guests, single, and desirous of a slightly running to fat matron to light up his life.  Vampirical - not that I want to suck the life out of him, but more that despite the cold light of day having proven this wish to be a vain one, it nevertheless refuses to die and returns renewed with sundown, and a glass of red wine.    He's never there.  But since I'm never there either, it doesn't matter.  I don't get asked to your house.  Because I am horrible.  Or overbearing.  Or full of myself.  Or too talkative.  Or just too Marion - I'm not sure, and though I'm sure there are some trolls who would be happy to tell me in detail exactly why my personality warrants social excommunication, leave me, leave me - please to the Samaritains, just to fret quietly by myself.  You're in safe hands.  Really.  I can do self-criticism.  Mistress of it.  I could teach classes.

So I started with people from the pub. Nice people.  Interesting filmy west london people.  One of them is my builder - he who starts jobs and then forgets to finish them, so that the most expensive cupboard under my stairs in the History of Expensive Cupboards is still missing the ball catches and the handles fall off.  Three years after completion.  So they came; we talked about rich and famous people our children know ( along the lines of: well his best friend is the son of the son son of the drummer in Yes) - call me shallow - they certainly aren't, but who can resist a bit of voyeurism? So gossip, how much drugs our kids take (not me, I make it a policy not to ask); the lack of jobs; the economy; and still how much we all hate Thatcher.   They ate fattoush, and burgers, and spicy roast veggies with harissa and grilled halloumi, and home made tomato syrupy salsa, and caramalised red onions and chocolate trife with vodka jelly and strawberries.  The garden looked like a colour supplement film shot, I thought.  Son said it looked like a DFS advert - (absolutely nothing to pay until 2014 - and all prices slashed - slashed - does anyone every pay full price for a ruddy sofa?) complete with my naff - yes - reduced - Asda outside sofas that got their first unveiling.  The new plastic greenhouse is filled with foliage which, despite the neighbourhood is, actually, only 7 kinds of tomatoes and not weed, and the sun shone like someone had finally paid the electic bill.  We chatted and drank, and drank and chatted and afterwards, I washed up, for about two weeks, then fell asleep on the sofa while man was in mid NME crossword, managing still to answer a few clues between dozes. 

And today - it's cookathon two - the sequel.

Eight or so people coming tomorrow - most caught at work, unsuspectingly, backed into the kitchen so they couldn't come up with an excuse, further terrorised by the bread knife in my hand at the time - and instead of doing  *this*, I should be making basil and canteloupe jelly (I'm into the retro, cheap dessert these days) with a good dollop of vodka. 

I'm fast becoming convinced that to paraphrase myself, previously paraphrasing Julia Child in saying there is nothing not improved by butter (julia), bacon (me), vodka (new Lyrica me - though you're not supposed to mix it with alcohol.  You're not?  Where's the fun in that?' ) One of the yesterday guests - coincidentally - is on the same meds.  We're both happy, depresssed, manic junkies.  Finally.  At 54.  I'm a druggie.  I'm so damn hip.