Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Dangers Of Russian Vodka, And A Slightly-Drunken Canary With Access To Email

Everyone's in such a good mood today! Well, everyone apart from the constituents. It's very unnerving.

In the morning, Max gives me a cuddle and apologises for his PMT comment.

"I was just being immature," he says, as he gives me an exaggerated kiss on the cheek.

"Humph," I say. (I am not being an elephant, just playing hard to get.)

"Well, I am your toy-boy, after all."

Oh, honestly. A six-month age gap and you never hear the last of it. Which reminds me, I suppose I really must start planning Max's surprise birthday party. Which is bound to be better than mine was, if only because I don't intend to tell him about it in advance.

Unlike my husband, I understand the concept of surprise - which will include not inviting Annoying Ellen if I can get away with it, though I'm not quite sure how I'm going to make that look like an oversight. She'll be round at the first sniff of alcohol, anyway.

Talking of alcohol, I arrive at work to find that Igor has dropped off a bottle of vodka to warm us all up. Greg has already tested it for purity, or so he says.

"Can't be too careful, Mol. You are lucky I am prepared to risk my life as the office canary."

"I don't think canaries were expected to drink vodka," I say.

"You're so anal," says Greg, as he pours another shot "just to be on the safe side."

When he tells me that Vicky has gone to London to meet up with The Boss, I decide to join him in a celebratory drink. A whole day free from eye-rolling, hair-flicking and supercilious comments about how unkindly life is treating my face! It feels as if it's my birthday.

The vodka even helps to dull the volume of Miss Chambers's voice, when she phones to say that the Police have stolen the teapot that she inherited from her mother, during their last visit to investigate her latest allegation: that her neighbours have started running a brothel.

She doesn't explain why any police officer would want a teapot in the guise of a Cornish cottage, or whether the neighbours were exonerated from operating Northwick's answer to a chicken ranch; and I don't ask. Unnecessary questions are inadvisable when your hearing's at risk.

Greg offers me a refill as soon as he hears Miss Chambers' distinctive shriek echoing around the office, but I refuse, just in case the vodka affects my judgement - or my reaction time. (It's vital to be able to end the call the moment that the volume begins to cause dizziness.)

This turns out to have been a very wise decision, as I need all my wits about me when Johnny emails me just after I have turned off the phones at the end of the day. He says that he's sorry for his PMT comment, but that he's "losing patience" with me.

When I ask why, he says that I am teasing him. Me? A tease? I wouldn't have the faintest idea where to start - as per the Ann Summers debacle - but he insists that this is exactly what I'm doing, by refusing to commit to another meeting.

"Well, I'm not sure," I say. Time to bite the bullet. "I can't help thinking that maybe we should both make a bit more effort to salvage our marriages first. Don't you?"

But it seems Johnny disagrees:

"It's not a job, being married," he says. "Is it really bloody worth it when you have to work at it?"

Of course it's a job. And I bet his kids would think it was worth it, even if he doesn't. Is he on another planet, keeping Max's Mormon friends company, or something?

I don't mention them in my next email, though it quickly becomes obvious that I still haven't explained myself properly when Johnny replies, and sends me on a frantic search for the vodka bottle:

"It's not as if you can help who you fall in love with."

Now I've got raging hiccups, no idea how to answer him, and I'm expecting to keel over like a canary any minute - admittedly through hyperventilation rather than gas. It's much less confusing when people aren't being nice to you.

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