Early this morning, as I was struggling to get into gear, shuffling from study to kitchen and balancing empty mugs and dirty plates, the phone rang. And it was a real phone call this time, not the whistling type that gets my fax machine to roll out suggestions on how to quit smoking. It wasn't just any odd friend either (sorry friends), it was the manager of the Prada store in London who was replying to my desperate letter (with picture) detailing the disastrous damage to my favourite pair of shoes, these.
It turns out they cannot repair them but know of a fantastic guy, a certain George, who is a wizard at these jobs. I don't need any odd Timpson on this one, I need someone who can materialise a 3 mm strip of purple suede trimmed in gold and sew it on with fairy fingers. While she was talking, I went through an out of body experience and saw myself clutching the mobile, perched against the sink, the wide-eyed look of expectation splattered on my face. I was smiling and nodding and then my brow flickered.
She asked me whether I saw the snakeskin flatties with gems. Oh yes I have. And aren't they absolutely stunning. God yes they are, painfully so. And what do I think of the crushed leather bags and of the foil dresses and of the latest tower heels. Lovely, lovely, lovely, too lovely for words. And is there anything else they can do for me at the moment. Ah, that's what faltering looks like, zippered lips and flaring nostrils. Oh well I am ok for now, thank you so much. And I'll see you again next time you're visiting us in London. Of course yes, I can't wait already.
Yeah well. She doesn't know that I am an in-between-jobs-hybrid who doesn't do Prada at the moment. In fact, I don't even do Marks and Spencer and, really, that's because once you've walked in Pradas (or Diors or Manolos) nothing compares. You've changed things. Forever. There's no going back.
Another week has passed, I've ticked almost all of the boxes on my list, everything is going very well, I am a writing machine currently hopping from Coleridge to diary to letters to Watchmen to Wordsworth at the click of a mouse. Yet... there's always a yet, isn't there?
Or a however. I remember sitting in management meetings when the senior manager would very quickly skim on the good, or near-good, things, so that he could get to the crap really fast. In fact, time-wise, the reeling out of the Good Things often took approximately two minutes while the reeling out of the However Things took the remaining fifty-eight minutes. You'd think we were a bunch of morons instead of the team that helped pulling in millions of pounds worth of profits per year.
So, why not doing it the other way round? I would prefer to hear the abuse first, knowing that, by the end of it, my shoulder would be graced with a tiny pitter-patter of recognition just before I leave the room. The way they do it now... well... the Good Things are crushed by a truckload of morale-sapping detail, so much so that, by the time the meeting is over, you don't even remember them any more.
Yet, it still feels like I am doing this for my own entertainment, to fill the time. I know, ludicrous proposition, but applicable nonetheless. And look at this, the postbox has just vomited a Dior/AmEx letter and a Thierry Mugler one too. Is it a conspiracy this morning or what? Wow, I had forgotten I still had £ 6000 to spend on the AmEx... Isn't the world brighter already? But for a start, I am off to send the shoes to George.