I had a revelation the other day and that is: I am going to stop drinking in public. You heard me. I am challenging the old wisdom that if you drink “on your own” then you’ve got a problem because come on, aren’t we past all that? Of course I’ve got a fucking problem, mate! Anyway my plan going forward is to do all parties and gatherings stone cold sober and then hit the Chardonnay when I get home.
Recently I did a few evening and lunch parties sober for driving/childcare related reasons and found myself just so pathetically grateful when I started out for home that I was sober. Negotiating any journey home that is more complicated than walking up the road when you are tipsy is becoming, to me, increasingly unpleasant, even if I’m in a taxi and not driving the wrong way up Shaftesbury Avenue, slurring “God they’ve moved Soho all about during lockdown haven’t they?” (N.B. I have never driven drunk. That I can recall.)
There’s also something so challenging about post-lockdown socialising that, to me, calls for sobriety. Many might think that drinking will help with this but I think it makes it worse and gives it a surreal Hall of Mirrors/Fright Ride element that isn’t necessary for freak-out points.
I am already uninhibited and wild from 18 months of talking mostly to myself/the plants/my husband that I don’t need anything to strip away any more layers. I often wonder what Regency-age or Victorian ladies would make of the bizarre topics and statements that pass for conversation in the modern age and wonder if they weren’t on to something with their prescribed etiquette.
Some notable exceptions to this rule: my husband and/or my own house don’t count as “public”. Also if I am genuinely walking distance from my dinner then all bets are off and don’t wait up for me as I have most likely fallen into one of the concrete planters outside Kentish Town Fire Station.
This is probably all just a desperate grab by me to get some sort of control over my life, which at the moment feels like it has left the tracks and is hurtling, chuffing wildly, whistle screaming down a hill towards a reservoir filled, inexplicably, with sharks.
I think it’s my house and moreover the hideous mounting mounds of crap everywhere. One or two people I know have either moved houses or completely re-done their current place. Both of these rather extreme events obviously necessitate an enormous clear-out and as a result their houses all look spectacular, even if they are perfectly modest. And if the house is genuinely grand, well, I am left reeling for days after the viewing.
I refuse to move house as I feel so at home here and I am aware that feeling at home is a hard-won thing and not to be taken for granted. I am also incredibly reluctant to re-do the place from top-to-bottom, (badly overdue), because my husband and I are never closer to divorce than when we are doing things to a house. Also managing house renovations is so complicated, so stressful, so boring. Does not play to my strengths. And so the cracks get wider, corners get shabbier, the crap piles up… and up… and up…
I tell you another thing that provides and comforting veneer of control over one’s flabby and chaotic life and that’s actual veneer, on your nails. You can always tell when I’m on the edge of a nervous breakdown because my nails are done. I don’t bother with my nails much because my hands are so ugly and also I don’t have the patience to sit and let them dry. But when I am feeling full-on Bell Jar transfixed by nothing, staring-at-the-wall I might as well be also waiting for my nails to harden.
My favourite nail colour at the moment is Orly Breathable Treatment + Colour in the appropriately-named “Rehab” topped with the very good “Colourfix” from good old Mavala, which is an absolutely excellent topcoat that truly makes your colour indestructible and very shiny.
My new discovery is Daydream by Chanel. This was brought to my attention by Becky B, who now lives in LA and subsequently only has the very best things. This is a very pretty light antique rose colour, which is a very close match for my skin tone and makes my fingers look 1mm longer than they actually are (which is when you have stumpy trotter-hands like me makes all the difference).
But even if you are not blessed with my Spam complexion, it’s a lovely colour. You will notice that this particular shade, 735, is sold out most places online. What you have to do is track down availability in-store (in, say, a John Lewis), ring to reserve it and then make a special pilgrimage to fetch it back. I did this the other day because I truly believed that it would make everything better and do you know what? It actually did. For a bit.