Friday 2nd June
8st 7. Alcohol units 0. Cigarettes 0. Calories 900.
I read in an article that Kathleen Tynan, late wife of the late Kenneth, had "inner poise" and, when writing, was to be found immaculately dressed, sitting at a small table in the centre of the room, sipping at a glass of chilled white wine. Kathleen Tynan would not, when late with a press release for Perpetua, for example, lie terrified under the duvet, fully dressed, chain smoking, glugging cold sake out of a beaker and putting make-up on as a deranged displacement activity.
Lately, therefore, whenever things have risked ranging out of control, I have repeated the phrase "inner poise" and imagined myself wearing white linen and sitting at a table with flowers on it. "Inner poise." No fags for six days now. Only 3 alcohol units consumed over the last week as grudging concession to Tom who complained it was like spending the evening with a halibut. My body is a temple. Nothing of value comes through struggle - it is all about flow. Zen and the art of life. "Flow." I wonder if it's time to go to bed yet? Oh no, it's only 8.30. "Inner poise."
9st. Cigarettes 64. Alcohol units 14. Calories 8,400.
At 8.45 last night I was running a relaxing aromatherapy bath and sipping camomile tea when a car burglar alarm started up. I have been waging a campaign in our street against car burglar alarms which are intolerable and counter-productive since you are more likely to get your car broken into by an angry neighbour trying to silence the burglar alarm than by a burglar.
This time, however, instead of raging and calling the police I merely breathed in through flared nostrils and murmured "inner poise". The doorbell rang. I picked up the intercom. Hysterical sobbing. I rushed downstairs. There was my friend Magda, in floods of tears with her husband Jeremy's Saab convertible, all lights flashing emitting a "doowee dooweee dooweee" of indescribable loudness while the baby screamed as if being murdered in the car seat. Every window in the street had a head in it.
"Turn it off!"
"I bloody well can't!" shrieked Magda, tugging at the car bonnet. "Just going to ring my husband. Jerrers!" She yelled into the portable phone, "Jerrers! How d'you open the bonnet on the Saab?"
Magda is very posh. Our street is not very posh. Our street still has half torn-off posters saying "Free Nelson Mandela" in the windows.
"I'm not bloody coming back, you bastard," Magda was yelling. "Just tell me how to open the fucking bonnet."
We were both in the car now, pulling every lever we could find. Magda swigging intermittently at a bottle of Veuve Cliquot. By this time a small crowd was gathering. Next thing Jeremy, thank God, roared up on his Harley Davidson, but instead of turning off the alarm he started trying to grab the baby out of the back seat with Magda screaming at him. Then the Australian guy, Bruce, who lives below me, opened his window.
"Oy, Bridgid," he shouted. "There's water pouring through my ceiling."
"Sh*t. The bath."
I ran upstairs, but when I got to my door, I realised I'd shut it behind me with the key inside. I started banging my head against it, yelling, "Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t." Then Bruce appeared in the hall.
"Christ," he said, "You'd biddah hev one of these."
"Thanks," I said, practically eating the proffered fag.
Several cigarettes and a lot of fiddling with a credit card later we were in, to find water flooding everywhere.We couldn't turn the taps off. Bruce rushed downstairs, returning with a spanner and a bottle of scotch. He managed to turn off the taps and started helping me to mop up. Then the burglar alarm stopped and we rushed to the window just in time to see the Saab roar off, with the Harley Davidson in hot pursuit. We both started laughing - we'd had quite a lot of whisky by now. Then suddenly, I don't quite know how, he was kissing me. This was quite an awkward situation, etiquette-wise, because I had just flooded his flat, and ruined his evening so I didn't want to seem ungrateful. I know that didn't give him licence to sexually harass me, but the complication was that it was quite enjoyable, really, after all the dramas and inner bloody poise. Then suddenly a man in motorbike leathers appeared at the open door holding two pizza boxes.
"Aow sh*t," said Bruce. "Ah forgot ah ordered pizza." So we ate the pizzas and had a bottle of wine and a few more cigarettes and then he started trying to kiss me again and I slurred, "No, no, we mushn't," at which point he went all funny and started muttering, "Ow chraarst. Ow chraarst."
"What is it?" I said.
"Ahm merrid," he said. "But Bridgid, ah think ah live you."
When he'd finally gone I slumped on the floor, shaking, with my back to the front door, chain-smoking butt ends. "Inner poise," I said, half heartedly, then the doorbell rang. I ignored it.
It rang again. Then it rang without stopping. I picked it up.
"Darling," said a voice I recognised. "I never realised before. I love you."
"Go away, Daniel."
"No. Lemme explain."
"Bridge ... Marry me ..."
"Can I use your toilet?"
Twenty-one hours, four pizzas, one Indian takeaway, three packets of cigarettes and two bottles of champagne later Daniel is still here. I am in love. I am also now between one and all of the following:
a) back on 30 a day
I have just been sick, and as I slumped over the loo trying to do it quietly so Daniel wouldn't hear, he suddenly yelled out from the bedroom, "there goes your inner poise, my plumptious. Best place for it, I say."
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