Slumped over the keyboard, I’d have described myself as ‘in a reverie’ whereas strict accuracy would dictate ‘knackered’. Yet a couple of hours’ freedom were there for the taking. And sunshine meant getting out there. But oh, I was tired! My upstairs neighbours (the E-Es) had indulged in one of their late-night maximum-decibel DVD-seshes, keeping me – already tired and ready to sleep at 10:30 pm – awake until well after midnight. Entreaties to turn down the sound fell on deaf ears (which, considering the customary volume maintained by these two, is highly probable).
If I were inclined to violence, their days would be numbered. In fact they would have been feeding the fishes in the Baie for a year or so by now.
Lack of sleep is bad enough on its own, but I was also encountering that form of stuckness which can only be resolved by exercise. And staying in might result in committing an expenditure too far (I coveted a bargain jacket spotted online). But beautiful weather cannot be wasted, so outdoors I went. Before leaving, a decision: sandals? Sandals! No escaping it: the feet had to be given an airing, as it were.
I have the ugliest feet. Gnarled, knobbly and hairy like a man’s: hideous. Not my fault: born that way. Inescapable fact, so to be borne – as they do the rest of me, I suppose. Luckily I don’t too often have to look at the vile things; the sight of ’em is an affliction to be inflicted upon others (poor dears).
So off we toddled, feet and I, in search of release from our stuck-state, with me telling myself that it only takes one movement or re-focus from a different optic for all to be resolved. Ish.
My feet, ever my stumbling block (too awful a pun to resist). Thanks to them plus rubbish hand-eye co-ordination, I was the worst member of the worst team in the central London ad agencies’ darts league. Oh, if only – the MD lamented – our vigorously voracious approach to menus and wine lists was matched by our ability to wield a dart. Alas, it was not to be.
People came from far and wide – well, OK, Clapham – to witness our extraordinarily cack-handed progress. Keeping a fair distance from the action, needless to say. Baz, the Studio Head’s boyfriend, unable to believe what he’d heard, turned up to witness the full horror.
“Good God,” he chortled happily, “it’s so bad, it’s actually bloody good!” The SH bestowed upon her beloved a glare comparable in effect to a copious injection of novocaine. “Waahh, harr-arr, fffnar-harrr!” went Bazzer in the manner of a headless chicken unaware that death has struck. He leant over me, “I shhaay, Min – Min’s quite attractive, inshee?” It was the beer talking, obviously; but SH looked distinctly dangerous: “You should see her feet,” she hissed.
Seb-the-Top-Creative, sighing, stepped into the breach. And, sure enough, missed the board by the metropolitan equivalent of a country mile. Repeatedly.
We lost. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Seb, a metrosexual before such types were even a gleam in a desperate style editor’s eye, put on a brave face. Reporting for work the following Monday, he was a one-man miasma of fragrance. “Vanilla” said Seb proudly, explaining that he’d admired its warm, rich aroma so extravagantly that his boyfriend had treated him to a selection from the full range. We sniffed appreciatively. There was something indefinably comforting about the scent.
And then the studio rep appeared as if from nowhere. A tall lugubrious figure, the sniffer of doom: “Gor, fah kinell,” he said, “‘oo’s been eatin’ custard, then? Smells like bleedin’ school dinners in ‘eah!”
SH glared, mutating from beauteous blonde to basilisk in seconds; but the damage was done. Seb never again appeared ponging of crème anglaise.
Some purchases spoil too easily, I reflected, as I pounded around the Colline du Château and down into Place
Rossetti where I successfully avoided buying an ice-cream at Fenocchio. Back home I congratulated myself on having saved myself lots of Euros by not buying that jacket and those mouth-watering scoops (the best ever …).
So in that spirit I gazed fondly down at my feet, aware for the first time of just how much expenditure on nail varnish, footcare products and pedicures their repulsiveness had saved me over the years. The feet had done their job and the outing the trick: I’d definitely returned un-stuck – if somewhat creative in my notional accounting. But then, an awful lot of other people will shortly find themselves applying the same technique of budgetary control, many of them for the first time. We have no other choice.
As usual, click on pix to enlarge.
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