June 16, 2012: Drinks Party

          I am at a drinks party at my friend Victoria’s house in Cheltenham. I am standing on a vast veranda, sipping a Pimm’s cup and chatting with a very nice chap who’s telling me all about a skive toff who’s left the C of E and lost the plot so thoroughly, he’s taken her majesty’s pleasure. I don’t understand a word he’s saying, but it all sounds glorious in his British accent.

          This is the party I have been meaning to attend ever since I was 11 and first read Mrs. Miniver. Uniformed waitresses circulate with platters heaped with crudités and tiny, fondant-wrapped sweets. The walls are lined with landscapes and still lifes by listed artists. I am trying hard not to be distracted by the furniture, all of which I want to cram into my purse and take away with me.

       And then the nice bloke is pointing to my stomach and saying, “Your vest is playing ‘God Save the Queen’.” Which is true. My cell phone, which I’ve programmed to play the British national anthem as a ringtone while I’m in the UK, is in my dinner jacket pocket. And it’s ringing.

       I excuse myself and head to the garden. It’s my father calling from Phoenix. He’s trying to explain that he’s upset about going somewhere for dinner, but he’s having a hard time making sense. Eventually, the nurse takes the phone, and we get it all sorted out—something about my father needing a new calendar and Mom not wanting to get dressed that morning. “No biggie,” Nurse assures me. “Everyone’s well!”

       I end the call and head for Victoria’s drawing room to have another look at her Larry Poons. They’re fine, I’m thinking. The nurse is there and Tevye is a few minutes away from them by car and they’re fine. They’re fine. Look at the Poons and stop worrying. Everything is fine.

       But just behind these thoughts is a voice–my voice–whispering, They’re both going to burst into flames while you’re gone. You’re on another continent and you won’t be there to save them should something happen. Tevye’s cell phone will die one day, making him unreachable by phone, just at the moment that the nurse goes to the bathroom and your father slips on a teaspoonful of water and breaks his hip.

     Lady Leighton comes round the corner. “There you are, darling. Were you on the phone in the garden?”

     “Yes,” I tell her. “It was a wrong number.”

Two of Victoria’s guests did not like her garden statuary.

Thing I Hate Today: Twaddle

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3 Responses

  1. Your parents won’t burst into flames because your away. They will burst into flames because it is fucking hellish hot here in Phoenix and by the time you return from chilly England/France everyone in Phoenix will have burst into flames from the heat and you will be the only one left. Your cats will be okay but you will find them rolling around in the ashes of your former husband Todd.

  2. I’m pretty sure you’d get slapped and/or arrested for looking at a woman’s Larry Poons in the States, let alone having ANOTHER look. Bloody pervert.

  3. everything is fine and you can always call my cel phone and i will answer and i will then call paul and or lilia and they will tell me where to go and fix everything. 🙂 no one will die. ever.

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