Sun 26th Feb
8st 13, alcohol units 2 (excellent), cigarettes 7, calories 3,100 (poor).
2pm. Oh, why hasn't Daniel rung? Hideous, wasted weekend glaring psychopathically at the phone, and eating things. I cannot believe I convinced myself I was keeping the entire weekend free to work, when in fact I was on permanent date-with-Daniel standby.
On top of everything, I open the papers to find the bloody Cones Hotline is being scrapped. Who else am I supposed to ring up late at night when I feel lonely? In my experience there is always some bored chap at the end of it at any hour of the day or night, only too happy to moan a little about people ringing up at 2am to order a 99 or Cornetto ("I know, I know") then move on to your own problems. Maybe they should re-name it the Cones Chatline or the Cones Supportline.
Right: work. Beginning on Ash Wednesday: "I will not fantasise about or behave ridiculously regarding Daniel Cleaver, boss of my publishing house" is to be relaunched along with the other New Year Resolutions: I will not smoke, I will get down to 8st 7, I will not recycle items from the laundry basket, I will not bitch about Perpetua.
8pm. Phone call alert, which turned out just to be Tom asking if there was any progress. Tom, who has taken, unflatteringly, to calling himself a Hag-Fag, has been sweetly supportive about the Daniel crisis. (He has a theory that homosexuals and single women in their thirties have natural bonding; both are used to disappointing their parents and being treated as freaks by society.)
Last Tuesday, at the Cheapskate's Wine Guide launch, weeks of flirtation appeared to climax. Daniel moved behind me and murmured: "So ... will I see you?" and then, more quietly, "I mean ... see you?" - so horny. Then he wrote "Bridget" and my home number on a cigarette packet and said: "I'll call you."
11.15pm: No call. At breaking point I dialled the Cones Hotline. After 14 rings, came a kindly voice. We had a cursory chat about cones and then moved on to Daniel. Maybe he had lost the cigarette packet? The Hotline man, very tactfully, raised the question of directory enquiries. "He doesn't know where I live," I replied, "and there are 25 B Joneses in the directory." Should I call him? The Hotline man thought no. "The essence of alchemy is release," he said.
Mon 27th Feb
9st (irreversible slide into obesity), alcohol units 4, cigarettes 29, calories 770 (v.g. but at what price?).
Nightmare day. I arrived in the office, to find Perpetua in hysterics. Usually, on Monday morning the smug witch is in full telephone autowitter to Hermione or Piggy about the weekend's dizzy social whirl, and the latest £500,000 Fulham flat she's buying with Hugo. "Yars, yars, well, it is north-facing but they've done something frightfully clever with the light." Flats were off. The whole flat thing, apparently, was based on the job Hugo was about to take up with Barings. "Darling! Go home," the whole office cooed. "Everyone has their breaking point."
I watched the door for Daniel all morning: nothing. By 11.45am I was seriously alarmed. Should I raise an alert? Go round to his flat? Quickly I was immersed in a Daniel-in-emotional-crisis fantasy: me, him, talking late into the night: "I have never, never found anyone I could say these things to before. Oh, Bridget ..."
"Daniel? He's at the sales conference in Croydon. He'll be in tomorrow," Perpetua, coat on, bellowed into the phone. "God, all these bloody girls ringing him up." A French cook's knife cut through me as I reached for the Silk Cut. Which girls? Somehow I got home, and in a moment of insanity left a message on Daniel's answerphone saying (oh no, I can't believe I did this): "Hi, it's, er, Bridget here. I was just wondering how you are and if you wanted to go out sometime, like we said."
The second I put the phone down, I realised it was an emergency and rang Tom who calmly said leave it to him: if he made several calls to the machine he could find the code and erase the message. Eventually, he cracked it, rang to do the deed and Daniel answered. But instead of saying: "Sorry, wrong number", Tom put down the phone. So now, Daniel not only has the insane message, but will think it's me who's rung his answerphone 14 times this evening and then, when I did get hold of him, banged the phone down.
It is almost Shrove Tuesday. I shall disgust myself with my own greed by smoking 40 cigarettes instead of eating pancakes. And on Wednesday my new smoke-, fat-, and Daniel-obsession-free life will begin.Reuse content