Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Sometimes, I arrange to touch base in a bar with a friend, or, more usually, a mate (there's a whole welcome world of difference, my dears). I do it with the vague and selfish intention of holding a halfway-serious conversation about what's currently doing flip-flops in the run-down adventure playground that's my head.
Rather uncharitably, I rarely give people advance notice of what I have in store for them. Face it: they'd run a mile if they realised that, instead of a couple of jolly Stellas, it's a helter-skelter ride of neuroses making up tonight's schedule. I don't feel guilty: they've sprung their upsets on me often enough. Today I reckon it’s my turn.
This is precisely what I'd planned for tonight. I was already settling in at the French Bar with an old mate for a record-breaking whine and vodka about my personal and professional life, when another mutual acquaintance turned up out of the blue. Now, this was not just any mutual acquaintance, you understand. Oh no, this was a much-loved mutual acquaintance neither of us had seen for over three years.
So it was all mwah-mwah-mwah, darling, tell me what have you been doing all this time, my, but you are looking fabulous, and, oh, don't be silly, dear old Stranger will give up his seat for you, won't you, Stranger… Stranger… oh, he must have gone off somewhere… now, now, oh never mind him, sweetheart, where were we?
A word of advice: there are times, and especially when he's feeling sorry for himself, that this Stranger definitely does not like being Invisible. There are times, when, if this Stranger can't be the centre of attention, then he's going to leave in either a huff or a black cab, and probably both.
But before he flags down that taxi, and just to cheer himself up, he will, nine-times-out-of-ten, hand some money over to feed one of his most secret and shameful addictions. Which, my dears, is precisely what he did tonight…
Oh, is that how late it is? Sorry, folks. Time to go. Night draws in, and I must away to bed…