Thursday, 1 March 2007

Posh Do

It is the evening of the Posh Do. We are late, of course, which is good for me, because I am not looking forward to it. I have tried to get out of this, but Dig's played smarter. So Aunty Dee is now at home with Tiger, Shark and Squirrel, eating jam sandwiches, expecting to crash the car on the way to the RSPB meeting and anticipating a night in hospital.

I am complaining all the way. The trains are rubbish. My feet hurt. The venue is in a stupid place. There will be no-one there that I know. Dig ignores all of it. If I were him, I'd throw me off the train. Since we're going so slowly at that point, if he did I would suffer only a bruised knee. Which just goes to prove how rubbish the train service is.

When we get there I'm off outside. There are too many people in suits and too much noise. I'm just not used to this. My day job is cleaning up vomit, unplugging paint bottles, wiping bottoms and noses, paying for violin lessons, and being alone in the office, doing the odd page design and copy setting when everyone else goes off to the farm. I don't work rooms, network, offer employment with a nod and a sideways smile, make witty remarks with Directors of large corporations, or share concerns about the market for full stops.

By standing outside I manage to knock nearly 20 minutes off the time I have to stand in the room before dinner. A smiling man with a huge tray of glasses appears as soon as I get back inside. He reels off half a dozen strange cocktails with ingredients I've never heard of. The last option is champagne. Since that's the only name I recognise, I pick up two glasses of it. Five minutes later he heads towards me holding the bottle.

The champagne helps keep me inside, and so does meeting Belle. I've known her a long time and she's very sweet and says all the right things. I suggest I might have to behave badly this evening to have something to blog and she's suitably shocked. I like being able to shock her so easily and might go and live at her house.

Then we're called to dinner. Good news and bad news. I am at the Top Table with Dig. Some kind soul has not split us up. This is good in that I can sit next to Dig but bad because there are a lot of Big Wigs at the table who have more director titles between them than I have fingers and toes.

But I know that people like to talk about themselves. So it's easy to disappear against Director X who chats about his family all night. With Director Q I have a go at the institution he directs instead, and he gives a good defence of it, so I warm to him on the grounds that he puts up a good argument and tells me to piss off with the faux naive.

Perhaps it's the champagne but I have a go with Director T who takes no notice of me after I try to impress her with the jacket I'm wearing. It cost £1 at our Help the Aged shop and I'd like everyone to know about it. I might need their bus service one day. Now I'm on my soap box I'll tell everyone it's a moral duty to shop with the local charity and remember how much profit the high street makes. It's probably not a good tack with Director T, but it helps, because I'm left wondering if I can tell Director S that he reminds me of a pickled gherkin and get away with it.

Clearly I need time, and people to kick against, to get into this routine. But my big problem is that the Big Wigs are all too gracious, and non-combative, and diplomatic, and too quick at side-stepping trouble while it's walking about holding a couple of champagne glasses. I tell Doe when I see him at the end of the evening that I don't feel comfortable really with people who make decisions about the world; I'm used to a daily combat zone of blood and tears in the front room. Doe tells me, 'We all have to enter the shower naked.' Well, that's normally true Doe, but if you had to enter any bathroom at home here right now, you'd probably wear a chemical hazard suit. That's my world. And I bet Director T has clean white tiles, a power jet with rotating shower head and never shops at Age Concern.


Michelle said...

You surely are inventing the price of the item bought at your charity shops? Shoes here cost £4.50 and upwards. You can't get a decent jacket for less than £9.50 and a silk dress would also cost you in the £10 range.

And to get to go to a do where they serve proper Champers and not Cava! I would put up with the train journey for that. I think . . .

grit said...

no, straight up, on the £1 rail. So you're not going to believe this next bit... the label is Harvey Hichols! and your local charity shops are clearly in the posh parts of the shires!

Michelle said...

Not posh enough to have Harvey Nicks stuff!!!!