Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Think of all the fun I've missed

Country Mouse rings with her usual seasonal barrage of one-upmouseship.
‘Have you finished yet? My dear, isn’t it awful, I’ve barely started.’ [Translation: Everything’s done; relaxing in a tinsel tracksuit.]
‘Now what do you think of my Christmas dinner with a twist? Goose with brandy reduction and cider-glazed pearl onions. Nigella, obv.’
I scrunch the phone against my shoulder in official 1950’s housewife style and scrawl myself a reminder note: ‘Get food for Christmas’. If only I was a 1950s housewife, I might come up a better rejoinder than ‘Pearl onions can be awfully windy.’ [Translation: Shuddup.]
She ignores me, quite rightly. ‘Must dash. So much to do!’ [Translation: Off for my massage, the reward for having (a) done everything and (b) crushed your soul.]
It’s because of this kind of pressure that 1950s housewives were all junked up to the eyeballs in Valium. I do up my pinny and continue my list.
1. Get food. Not turkey. Turkey so over. Rattlesnake?
2. Get drink. Lots. Strong.
3. Inspect unwanted present cupboard. Surely this is the year I can offload that pink tart’s boudoir bubble bath set? Maybe my father-in-law would like it.
4. Start domestic marketing campaign centering on the principle of when I was your age I was thrilled with a walnut and a roll of sellotape.
On the way to town (5. Go to Waitrose, have small and mostly unnoticeable breakdown by the Christmas puddings, buy cheese strings), I bump into Pierced Boy. I assume confidently that his Christmas plans will be less formed than mine.
‘Oh, I’m spending the whole week at Lorenzo’s place in Marrakech, didn’t I say?’[Translation: Ner ner ner ner ner.]
I reel into Neros. The staff are wearing Santa hats but I am prepared to overlook this in the interests of scoring a triple espresso. Then Eco Dad sits down, spills green tea and says, ‘Done all your shopping then?’
‘Yes,’ I lie, brazenly. ‘How about you?’
‘It was a trick question!’ he laughs. ‘We’re not joining the consumerist bun fight. We’re giving each other the gift of love and space.’ [Translation: Ner ner ner ner ner.]
I give Eco Dad the gift of space and trudge to Honesty Girl’s place. Surely she’ll sympathise with my Yuletide ennui? But she’s up a ladder decorating an immense tree.
‘I love this time of year,’ she says.
‘Ha ha!’
‘No, seriously. I try and put my cynicism aside and hear sleigh bells in the snow.’
I burst into tears.
‘What on earth’s the matter you silly old trout?’ she soothes. ‘Here, this’ll make you feel better.’ She hands me a huge Cadbury’s selection box. ‘The kids’ll never know, we’ll just take one or two.’ [Translation: We eat the entire thing.]
The taste of the Crunchy makes me think of chestnuts roasting on a open fire, and how much more I’d rather be eating a Crunchy. Though just for a moment I ponder what it would taste like garnished with some glazed pearl onions.
Beth Miller, 8th December 2010. Published in and Viva Lewes magazine, December 2012

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