We had a great night Saturday. A close friend was turning sixty and you know what baby boomers are like when they get down to party. And so yes, there was much Sancerre, some (very) old moves on the dance floor and okay I’ll admit it, a fair bit of Karaoke. I have a vague recollection of a swimming pool figuring somewhere in the festivities too.
As we were leaving, feeling it my sole responsibility to ensure that the Summer of Love lived on, I extended an invitation to about a dozen people (rough approximation) to come over to our house the next day to watch the closing ceremony of the Olympics.
We arrived home (by taxi of course) to a flooded kitchen and after much drunken mopping, turned the water off at the mains and fell into bed at around 2am. So I blame dehydration for the fuzzy feeling in my head early Sunday morning when I dragged into the kitchen on about four hours sleep and my husband asked what time people were coming over that afternoon.
‘What? People? But we don’t have a screening room.’ I thought.
Also I looked like I deserved to look.
‘This is not good’ I thought,’ but I hate to let people down.’
Preparing to entertain while a plumber lies horizontally on your kitchen floor surrounded by the contents of your sink cupboard provides something of a challenge, as does moving at speed, in a hundred degrees of heat to pick up the phone calls from people wanting your address.
‘My prowess as a hostess is legendary.’ I think. ‘They will be expecting British flags on the gateposts, replica gold medals on ribbons, field and track games… oh! yes and food and drink.’
It dawned on me very slowly that we didn’t have any of the above or for that matter running hot water or clean towels. At the time also I didn’t know that our cable TV wasn’t working.
And so it came to pass that contravening all fire regulations, we squashed into my husband’s home office. Sitting cross-legged on the floor and flopping onto cushions we watched the extravaganza on his wide-screen Mac. We sang along with Eric Idol. We who ‘Always Look On the Bright Side of Life.’ We drank copious amounts of wine out of plastic cups and thrashed the air to ‘Talking About My Generation.’
I swelled with pride for a country I left eleven years ago. We ate cold leftover chicken from Saturday’s party and ended the evening pretty much where we left off twenty-four hours before; in the pool, a happy band of grown-up hippies remembering that ‘All You Need Is Love.’ Oh! And yes wine and music. That too.
“Whatever for?” I hear you ask, “For plumbing is not at all glamorous.”
I understand your concern, but I am not aiming for the mechanical or messy side of things. I want a job in their office answering the phone. Yes. That’s right, the ‘electric telephone’ as invented by Alexander Graham Bell.
Last week I had faucet issues. When I called Challenge a woman answered the phone. Ah ha! A human being on the other end of the line. In the background the phones were ringing off the hook and there was much yelling. It was frenetic. I was put on hold the old-fashioned way, hand held over the receiver so I could hear the mayhem. Missing drivers were being located, time frames re-arranged, apologies given. It took me right back to my days in PR.
Now we are not talking Mad Men era here. A mere ten years ago, PR offices were vibrant adrenalin pumped hubs filled with cigarette smoke and coffee cups, whirring fax machines and thumping copy machines. It was messy, unhealthy and exhausting but it was high energy and there was a visceral connection with people. (Why do I hate the word co-workers?) Anyway the graveyard silence of offices nowadays scares me; everything sliding in and out on email from claustrophobic cubicles.
Yesterday I abandoned my work, husband, friends, family, life as I know it, my Mac, iPad, Facebook page and emails. The phone remains unanswered. I haven’t managed a single Tweet in forty- eight hours. This could be my final blog. I can think of one thing and one thing only- ‘What time do they open?’ YES! Target has opened a store in my neighborhood.
Yesterday morning I pushed that giant red cart up and down its glorious aisles, adrenalin coursing through my veins as I scanned the newly stocked shelves. I had to stop for breath by the storage section for fear my heart would give out. I should have been in training for this for weeks. That way I wouldn’t have had to stop to refuel at Starbucks. This should qualify as an Olympic sport right up there with synchronized swimming and javelin throwing. It requires focus, discipline, stamina and a killer instinct.
I spent the afternoon in a frenzy; scraping stickers off glassware, yanking tags off bath-towels, rearranging drawers, alphabetizing kitchen cupboards, flinging out the old and realigning the new until spent and exhausted I fell into bed. Then springing up next morning with the lark, I was there again as the doors opened at 7 am.
I’ve always been interested in the Chinese art of Feng Shui, the first rule of which is ‘no clutter.’ Apparently when energy can’t flow easily it stagnates and all sorts of things can go wrong in particular areas of your life. Overstuffed cupboard equals overstuffed mind.
This morning while taking a break from closet clearing to make space for all the hangers, shoe-racks and shelves I planned on buying today I checked my in-box to see that India’s Summer has a great book review on- line in Barnes and Noble – Unabashedly Bookish. Right on Target!
10 Questions for the author of India’s Summer: Click here to read article