Thursday 27 March 2008

Life's little ironies

I dread to think what I weigh; I calculate that I drank 19.5 units of alcohol yesterday or, to put it another way, approximately the recommended healthy maximum for a whole week; the notion that I have 1,408 days left to live accordingly seems decidedly optimistic; Jubilee.

I can’t remember when I felt worse than I did this morning. The serious pain in my abdomen was clearly caused by my liver trying to escape. I couldn’t blame it. The only thing going for the early part of the day proved to be a much better than usual crop of morale-raising stories in the newspaper. I particularly enjoyed the splendidly disloyal quotes from the elder sister of the 81-year-old woman who had driven for 15 miles the wrong way up the M65, emphasizing that she has always been a bloody awful driver. That and the story about the American attempting to install satellite TV who did not have an electric drill so decided to make the necessary hole in his wall with a .22 rifle and killed his wife standing on the other side. Can this really be true, or have the editorial staffs of the Daily Telegraph and Viz done a job swap in aid of Comic Relief?

I had lunch with a cousin who moonlights as a hotelier, and he was able to explain the striking polarization of views about the restaurant where I lunched yesterday. Apparently reactions to his hotels on the internet are similarly extreme, because the only people who bother to post comments on any of those numerous review sites are his friends (who exaggerate how wonderful everything is) and his competitors (who do precisely the opposite). Of course. Stupid of me not to have worked that one out for myself. At least I need never waste a minute looking at that whole category of websites ever again.

In the evening, I went to see Never So Good, Howard Brenton’s new play about Harold Macmillan, starring Jeremy Irons. I was halfway across the Jubilee Bridge to the South Bank when a most attractive young woman hove alongside and asked whether the large concrete building up ahead was the National Theatre. It wasn’t, being the Hayward Gallery, but she was not a million miles out. I asked whether she was off to see Jeremy and she said that she was, and we walked the rest of the way together. Pretty, animated, feisty, bit of a leftie by my standards (but then, let’s face it, who isn’t?): Andrea, you made my evening. It’s just a pity that I did not have the presence of mind to hand you a card when we parted, so you will never know that. But your face and our conversation have lodged in that part of my brain protected by the “save” button, and will stay there for the next 1,400-odd days until the whole thing is wiped.

The play was absolutely terrific, too. And it would be most unfair to the lady who accompanied me to it if I did not add that she was also very beautiful and charming company (if perhaps ever so slightly worn down by overwork). We sat in the Pizza Express by the Festival Hall as she took on fuel after the show, and she told me of her eagerness to get to bed. Not with me, obviously. When I was working full time in London, I felt similarly deprived of sleep, and always seemed to be forced to get up hours before I was properly rested. Now I never have any pressing reason to get out of bed, yet consider it a success if I manage to sleep for as much as five hours a night. Another one of life’s many little ironies, no doubt.

No comments: