Bridget joness diary, p.15
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.15

         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding
 
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  Monday 28 August

  9st 6. (full of beer and baked potatoes), alcohol units 6, cigarettes 20, calories 2846,

  Got back to message from Mum asking me what I thought about an electric mixer for Christmas, and to remember Christmas Day was a Monday this year so was I coming home on the Friday night or the Saturday?

  Considerably less annoyingly, there was a letter from Richard Finch, the editor of Good Afternoon! offering me a job, I think. This is all it said:

  OK, my darling. You're on.

  Tuesday 29 August

  9st2,, alcohol units 0 (v.g.), cigarettes 3 (g.), calories 1456 (pre-new-job healthy eating).

  10:30 a.m. Office. Just called Richard Finch's assistant Patchouli and it is a job offer but must start in a week. I don't know anything about television but sod it, I'm stuck in a dead end here, and it is just too humiliating working with Daniel now. I had better go and tell him.

  11:15 a.m. I can't believe this. Daniel stared at me, ashen-faced. 'You can't do this,' he said. 'Have you any idea how difficult the last few weeks have been for me?' Then Perpetua burst in – she must have been eavesdropping outside the door.

  'Daniel,' she exploded. 'You selfish, self-indulgent, manipulative, emotional blackmailer. It was you – for God's sake – who chucked her. So you can just bloody well put up with it.'

  Suddenly think I might love Perpetua, though not in a lesbian way.

  SEPTEMBER. Up The Fireman's Pole

  Monday 4 September

  9st, alcohol units 0, cigarettes 27, calories 15, minutes spent having imaginary conversations with Daniel telling him what I think of him 145 (good, better).

  8 a.m. First day at new job. Must begin as mean to go on, with new calm, authoritative image. And no smoking. Smoking is a sign of weakness and undermines one's personal authority.

  8:30 a.m. Mum just rang, I assumed to wish me luck for the new job.

  'Guess what, darling?' she began.

  What?'

  'Elaine has invited you to their ruby wedding!' she said, pausing breathlessly and expectantly.

  My mind went blank. Elaine? Brian – and – Elaine? Cohn-and-Elaine? Elaine-named-to-Gordon-who-used-to-be-head-of-Tarmacadamin-Kettering-Elaine?

  'She thought it might be nice to have one or two young 'uns there to keep Mark company.'

  Ah. Malcolm and Elaine. Begetters of the overperfect Mark Darcy.

  'Apparently he told Elaine he thought you were very attractive.'

  'Durr! Don't lie,' I muttered. Pleased though.

  'Well, I'm sure that's what he meant, anyway, darling.'

  'What did he say?' I hissed, suddenly suspicious.

  'He said you were very . . . '

  'Mother . . . '

  'Well, the word he actually used, darling, was 'bizarre.' But that's lovely, isn't it – 'bizarre'? Anyway, you can ask him all about it at the ruby wedding.'

  'I'm not going all the way to Huntingdon to celebrate the ruby wedding of two people I have spoken to once for eight seconds since I was three, just to throw myself in the path of a rich divorce who describes me as bizarre.'

  'Now, don't be silly, darling.'

  'Anyway, I've got to go,' I said, foolishly since she then, as always, began to gabble as if I were on death row and this was our last phone call before I was given a lethal injection.

  'He was earning thousands of pounds an hour. Had a clock on his desk, tick-tock-tick-tock. Did I tell you I saw Mavis Enderby in the post office?'

  'Mum. It's my first day at work today. I'm really nervous. I don't want to talk about Mavis Enderby.'

  'Oh, my godfathers, darling!' What are you going to wear?'

  'My short black skirt and a T-shirt.'

  'Oh, now you're not going to go looking like a s1oppy tramp in dull colors. Put something smart and bright on. What about that lovely cerise two-piece you used to wear? Oh, by the way, did I tell you Una's gone down the Nile?'

  Grrrr. Felt so bad when she put the phone down that smoked five Silk Cut in row. Non-vg start to day.

  9 p.m. In bed, completely exhausted. I had forgotten how hideous it is starting a new job when nobody knows you, so your entire character becomes defined by every chance remark or slightly peculiar thing you say; and you can't even so much as go to put some makeup on without asking where the ladies' is.

  I was late through no fault of my own. It was impossible to get into the TV studios as I had no pass and the door was run by the sort of security guards who think their job is to prevent the staff from entering the building. When I finally reached reception I wasn't allowed upstairs till someone came to get me. By this time it was 9:25 and the conference was at 9:30. Patchouli eventually appeared with two huge barking dogs, one of which started jumping up and licking my face while the other put its head straight up my skirt.

  'They're Richard's. Aren't they, like, brilliant?' she said. 'I'll just take them to the car.'

  'Won't I be late for the meeting?' I said desperately, holding on to the dog's head between my knees and trying to push it away. She looked me up and down as if to say, 'So?' and then disappeared, dragging the dogs.

  By the time I got in to the office, therefore, the meeting had started and everyone stared except Richard, whose portly form was clad in a strange green woolen boilersuit.

  'Come on, come on,' he was saying, jigging and beckoning the table towards him with both hands. 'I'm thinking Nine o'clock Service. I'm thinking dirty vicars. I'm thinking sexual acts in church. I'm thinking, why do women fall for vicars? Come on. I'm not paying you for nothing. Have an idea.'

  'Why don't you interview Joanna Trollope?' I said.

  'A trollop?' he said, staring at me blakly. 'What trollop?'

  'Joanna Trollope. The woman who wrote The Rector's Wife that was on the telly. The Rector's Wife. She should know.'

  A leery smile spread across his face. 'Brilliant,' he said to my breasts. 'Absolutely flicking brilliant. Anyone got a number for Joanna Trollope?'

  There was a long pause. 'Er, actually I have,' I said eventually, feeling walls of hate vibes coming from the grunge youths.

  When the meeting was over I rushed to the loo to recover my composure where Patchouli was making herself up next to her friend, who was wearing a sprayed-on dress that showed her underpants and midriff.

  'This isn't too tarty, is it?' the girl was saying to Patchouli. 'You should have seen those bitch thirtysomethings' faces when I walked in . . . Oh!'

  Both girls looked at me, horrified, with their hands over their mouths. 'We didn't mean you,' they said.

  I am not sure if I am going to be able to stand this.

  Saturday 9 September

  8st 12 (v.g. advantage of new job with attendant nervous tension), alcohol units 4, cigarettes 10, calories 1876, minutes spent having imaginary conversations with Daniel 24 (excellent), minutes spent imagining rerun of conversations with mother in which I come out on top 94.

  11:30 a.m. Why oh why did! give my mother a key to my flat? I was just-for the first time in five weeks-starting a weekend without wanting to stare at the wall and burst into tears. I'd got through a week at work. I was starting to think maybe it was all going to be OK, maybe I wasn't necessarily going to be eaten by an Alsatian when she burst in carrying a sewing machine.

  'What on earth are you doing, silly?' she trilled. I was weighing out 100 grams of cereal for my breakfast using a bar of chocolate (the weights for the scales are in ounces which is no good because the calorie chart is in grams).

  'Guess what, darling?' she said, beginning to open and shut all the cupboard doors.

  'What?' I said, standing in my socks and nightie trying to wipe the mascara from under my eyes.

  'Malcolm and Elaine are having the ruby wedding in London now, on the twenty-third, so you will be able to come and keep Mark company.'

  'I don't want to keep Mark company,' I said through clenched teeth. 'Oh. but he's very clever. Been to Cambridge. Apparently he made a fortune in America . . . '

>   'I'm not going.'

  'Now, come along, darling, let's not start,' she said, as if I were thirteen. 'You see, Mark's completed the house in Holland Park and he's throwing the whole party for them, six floors, caterers and everything . . . What are you going to wear?'

  'Are you going with Julio or Dad?' I said, to shut her up.

  'Oh, darling, I don't know. Probably both of them,' she said in the special, breathy voice she reserves for when she thinks she is Diana Dors.

  'You can't do that.'

  'But Daddy and I are still fiends, darling. I'm just friends with Julio as well.'

  Grr. Grr. Grrr. I absolutely cannot deal with her when she's like this.

  'Anyway, I'll tell Elaine you'd love to come, shall I?' she said, picking up the inexplicable sewing machine as she headed for the door. 'Must fly. Byee!'

  I am not going to spend another evening being danced about in front of Mark Darcy like a spoonful of puried turnip in front of a baby. I am going to have to leave the country or something.

  8 p.m. Off to dinner party. All the Smug Marrieds keep inviting me on Saturday nights now I am alone again, seating me opposite an increasingly horrifying selection of single men. It is very kind of them and I appreciate it v. much but it only seems to highlight my emotional failure and isolation – though Magda says I should remember that being single is better than having an adulterous, sexually incontinent husband.

  Midnight. Oh dear. Everyone was trying to cheer up the spare man (thirty-seven, newly divorced by wife, sample view: 'I have to say, I do think Michael Howard is somewhat unfairly maligned.').

  'Don't know what you're complaining about,' Jeremy was holding forth to him. 'Men get more attractive when they get older and women get less attractive, so all those twenty-two-year-olds who wouldn't look at you when you were twenty-five will be gagging for it.'

  I sat, head down, quivering furiously at their inferences of female sell-by dates and life as game of musical chairs where girls without a chair/man when the music stops/they pass thirty are 'out.' Huh. As if.

  'Oh yes, I quite agree it's much the best to go for younger partners,' I burst out, airily. 'Men in their thirties are such bores with their hang-ups and obsessive delusions that all women are trying to trap them into marriage. These days I'm only really interested in men in their early twenties. They're so much better able to . . . well, you know . . . '

  'Really?' said Magda, rather too eagerly. 'How . . . ?'

  'Yes, you're interested,' interjected Jeremy, glaring at Magda. 'But the point is they're not interested in you.'

  'Um. Excuse me. My current boyfriend is twenty-three,' I said, sweetly.

  There was a stunned silence. 'Well, in that case,' said Alex, smirking, 'you can bring him to us next Saturday when you come to dinner, can't you?'

  Bugger. Where am I going to find a twenty-three-year-old who will come to dinner with Smug Marrieds on a Saturday night instead of taking contaminated Ecstasy tablets?

  Friday 15 September

  9st, alcohol units 0, cigarettes 4 (v.g.), calories 3222 (British Rail sandwiches hideously impregnated), minutes spent imagining speech will make when resigning from new job 210.

  Ugh. Hateful conference with bully-boss Richard Finch going, 'Right. Harrods one-pound-a-pee toilets. I'm thinking Fantasy Toilets. I'm thinking studio: Frank Skinner and Sir Richard Rogers on furry seats, armrests with TV screens, quilted loo paper. Bridget, you're Dole Youths Clampdown. I'm thinking the North. I'm thinking Dole Youths, loafing about, live down the line.'

  'But . . . but . . ' I stammered.

  'Patchouli!' he shouted, at which point the dogs under his desk woke up and started jumping about and barking.

  'Wha'?' yelled Patchouli above the din. She was wearing a crocheted midi-dress with a floppy straw hat and an orange Bri-nylon saddle-stitched blouse on top. As if the things I used to wear in my teens were a hilarious joke.

  'Where's the Dole Youths OB?'

  'Liverpool.'

  'Liverpool. OK, Bridget. OB crew outside Boots in the shopping center, live at five-thirty. Get me six Dole Youths.'

  Later, as I was leaving to get the train, Patchouli yelled casually, 'Oh yeah, like, Bridget, it's not Liverpool, it's, like, Manchester, right?'

  4:15 P.M. Manchester.

  Number of Dole Youths approached 44, Number of Dole Youths agreed to be interviewed 0.

  Manchester-London train 7 p.m. Ugh. By 4:45 I was running hysterically between the concrete flower tubs, gabbling.

  ''Scuse me, are you employed? Never mind. 'hanks!'

  'What are we doing, then?' asked the cameraman with no attempt to feign interest. 'Dole Youths,' I said gaily. 'Back in a mo!' then rushed round the corner and hit myself on the forehead. I could hear Richard over my earpiece going, 'Bridget . . . where the fuck . . . ? Dole Youths.' Then I spotted a cash machine on the wall.

  By 5:20 six youths claiming to be unemployed were neatly lined up in front of the camera, a crisp ?20 note in each of their pockets while I flapped around trying to make oblique amends for being middle-class. At 5:30 1 heard the signature tune bonging and crashing then Richard yelling, 'Sorry, Manchester, we're dropping you.'

  'Urm . . . ' I began, to the expectant faces. The youths clearly thought I had a syndrome that made me want to pretend I worked in TV. Worse, with working like a mad thing all week and coming up to Manchester I had been unable to do anything about the no-date trauma tomorrow. Then suddenly as I glanced across at the divine young whippersnappers, with the cash machine in the background, the genii of an extremely morally suspect idea began to form itself in my mind.

  Hmm. Think was right decision not to attempt to lure Dole Youth to Cosmo's dinner party. Would have been exploitative and wrong. Doesn't answer question of what to do about it, though. Think will go have a fag in the smoking carriage.

  7:30 p.m. Ugh. 'Smoking Carriage' turned out to be Monstrous Pigsty where smokers were huddled, miserable and defiant. Realize it is no longer possible for smokers to live in dignity, instead being forced to sulk in the slimy underbelly of existence. Would not have been in least surprised if carriage had mysteriously been shunted off onto siding never to be seen again. Maybe privatized rail firms will start running Smoking Trains and villagers will shake their fists and throw stones at them as they pass, terrifying their children with tales of fire-breathing freaks within. Anyway, rang Tom from miracle-on-train-phone (How does it work? How? No wires. Weird. Maybe somehow connected through electric contact between wheels and tracks) to moan about the no-twenty– three-year-old date crisis.

  'What about Gav?' he said.

  'Gav?'

  'You know. The guy you met at the Saatchi Gallery.'

  'D'you think he'd mind?'

  'No. He was really into you.'

  'He wasn't. Shut-urrrrp.'

  'He was. Stop obsessing. Leave it to me.'

  Sometimes feel without Tom I would sink without trace and disappear.

  Tuesday 19 September

  8st 12 (v.g.), alcohol units 3 (v.g.), cigarettes 0 (too shameful to smoke in presence of healthy young whippersnappers).

  Blimey, must hurry. About to go on date with Diet Coke-esque young whippersnapper. Gav turned out to be completely divine, and behaved exquisitely at Alex's dinner party on Saturday, flirting with all the wives, fawning over me and fending all their trick questions over our 'relationship' with the intellectual dexterity of a Fellow of All Souls. Unfortunately, I was so overcome with gratitude* in the taxi on the way back I was powerless to resist his advances.** I did, however, manage to get a grip on myself *** and not accept his invitation to go in for coffee. Subsequently, however, I felt guilty about being a prick teaser,**** so when Gav rang and asked me round to his house for dinner tonight I accepted graciously.*****

  * lust

  ** put my hand on his knee

  *** my panic

  **** could not stop self thinking 'Damn, damn, damn!'

  ***** could barely contain my excitement

>   Midnight. Feel like Old Woman of the Hills. Was so long since had been on a date that was completely full of myself and could not resist boasting to taxi driver about my 'boyfriend' and going round to my 'boyfriend's,' who was cooking me supper.

  Unfortunately, however, when I got there, Number 4 Malden Road was a fruit and vegetable shop.

  'Do you want to use my phone, love?' said the taxi driver wearily.

  Of course I didn't know Gav's number, so I had to pretend to ring Gav and find it busy and then ring Tom and try to ask him for Gav's address in a way that wouldn't make the taxi driver think I had been lying about having a boyfriend. Turned our it was 44 Malden Villas and had not been concentrating when wrote it down. Conversation between me and the taxi driver had rather dried up as we drove to the new address. I'm sure he thought I was a prostitute or something.

  By the time I arrived I was feeling less than assured. It was all very sweet and shy to start with – a bit like going round to a potential Best Friend's house for tea at junior school. Gav had cooked spag bog. The problem came when food preparation and serving were over and activities turned to conversation. We ended up, for some reason, talking about Princess Diana.

  'It seemed such a fairy tale. I remember sitting on that wall outside St. Paul's at the wedding,' I said. 'Were you there?'

  Gav looked embarrassed. 'Actually, I was only six at the time.'

  Eventually we gave up on conversation and Gav, with tremendous excitement (this, I recall, the fabulous thing about twenty-two-year-olds) began to kiss me and simultaneously try to find entrances to my clothes. Eventually he managed to slide his hand over my stomach at which point he said – it was so humiliating – 'Mmm. You're all squashy.'

 
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