Bridget joness diary, p.7
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       Bridget Jones's Diary, p.7
 

         Part #1 of Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding

  Actually, I'm all for denial. You can convince yourself of any scenario you choose and it keeps you as happy as a sandboy – as long as your ex-partner doesn't pop up on your television screen forging a new career out of not being married to you any more. I tried to pretend it didn't mean there was no hope, and that Mum might be planning their reunion as a really grabby end to the series, but it didn't wash. Poor Dad. I don't think he knows anything about Julio or the man from the tax office. I asked him if he'd like me to come up tomorrow and we could go out and have a nice supper together on Saturday night and maybe go for a walk on Sunday, but he said be was all right. The Alconburys are holding an Olde English supper on Saturday night for the Lifeboat.

  Tuesday 4 April

  Determined, now, to tackle constant lateness for work and failure to address in-tray bulging with threats from bailiffs, etc. Resolve to begin self-improvement programme with time-and-motion study.

  7 a.m. Get weighed.

  7.03 a.m. Return to bed in sulk over weight. Head-state bad. Sleeping or getting up equally out of question. Think about Daniel.

  7.30 a.m. Hunger pains force self out of bed. Make coffee, consider grapefruit. Defrost chocolate croissant.

  7.35-7.50 a.m. Look out of window.

  7.55 a.m. Open wardrobe. Stare at clothes.

  8 am. Select shirt. Try to find black Lycra miniskirt. Pull clothes out of bottom of wardrobe in quest for skirt. Go through drawers and search behind bedroom chair. Go through ironing basket. Go through dirty linen basket. Skirt has vanished. Have cigarette to cheer self up.

  8.20 a.m. Dry skin brushing (anti-cellulite), bath and hairwash.

  8.35 a.m. Begin selection of underwear. Laundry crisis means only available pants are vast white cotton. Too unattractive to contemplate, even for work (psychological damage). Go back to ironing basket. Find unsuitably small black lacy pair – prickly but better than giant Mummy-pant horror.

  8.45 a.m. Start on black opaque tights. Pair one seems to have Shrunk – crotch is three inches above knees. Get second pair on and find hole on back of leg. Throw away. Suddenly remember had Lycra mini-skirt on when returned home with Daniel last time. Go to living room. Triumphantly locate skirt between cushions on sofa.

  8.55 a.m. Return to tights. Pair three have hole only in toe. Put on. Hole transforms into ladder which will protrude tellingly from shoe. Go to ironing basket. Locate last pair of black opaque tights twisted into rope-like object speckled with bits of tissue. Untangle and purge of tissue.

  9.05 a.m. Have got tights on now. Add skirt. Begin ironing shirt.

  9.10 a.m. Suddenly realize hair is drying in weird shape. Search for hairbrush. Locate in handbag. Blow-dry hair. Will not go right. Spray with plant spray and blow some more.

  9.40 a.m. Return to ironing and discover stubborn stain on front of shirt. All other possible shirts dirty. Panic about time. Try to wash out stain. Entire shirt now soaking wet. Iron dry.

  9.55 a.m. V. late now. In despair, have fag and read holiday brochure for calming five minutes.

  10 a.m. Try to find handbag. Handbag has vanished. Decide to see if anything nice has come in the mail.

  10.07 a.m. Access letter only, about non-payment of minimum payment, Try to remember what was looking for. Restart quest for handbag.

  10.15 a.m. Beyond lateness now. Suddenly remember had handbag in bedroom when looking for hairbrush but cannot find. Eventually locate under clothes from wardrobe. Return clothes to wardrobe. Put on jacket. Prepare to leave house. Cannot find keys. Scour house in rage.

  10.25 a.m. Find keys in handbag. Realize have forgotten hairbrush.

  10.35 a.m. Leave house.

  Three hours and thirty-five minutes between waking and leaving house is too long. In future must get straight up when wake and reform entire laundry system. Open up paper to read that convicted murderer in America is convinced the authorities have planted a microchip in his buttocks to monitor his movements, so to speak. Horrified by thought of similar microchip being in own buttocks, particularly in the mornings.

  Wednesday 5 April

  8st 13, alcohol units 5 (Jude's fault), cigarettes 2 (sort of thing that could happen to anyone – does not mean have started smoking again), calories 1765, Instants 2.

  Told Jude today about the inner poise thing and she said, interestingly, that she'd been reading a self-help book about Zen. She said, when you looked at life, Zen could be applied to anything – Zen and the art of shopping, Zen and the art of flatbuying, etc. She said that it was all a question of Flow rather than struggle. And if, for example, you had a problem or things were not working out, instead of straining or becoming angry you should just relax and feel your way into the Flow and everything would work out. It is, she said, rather like when you can't get a key to open a lock and if you wiggle it furiously it gets worse, but take it out, stick a bit of lip gloss on it, then just sort of sense your way and Eureka! But not to mention idea to Sharon because she thought it was bollocks.

  Thursday 6 April

  Went to meet Jude for quiet drink to talk about Flow some more and noticed a familiar besuited figure with knitting-pattern dark good looks sitting in a quiet corner having dinner: it was Magda's Jeremy. Waved at him and just for split second saw expression of horror cross his face, which instantly made me look to his companion who was a) not Magda. b) not yet thirty, c) wearing a suit which I have tried on twice in Whistles and had to take off as too expensive. Bloody witch.

  I could tell Jeremy was going to try to get away with the sort of quick 'Hello not now' look which acknowledges your close, old and enduring friendship but at the same time demonstrates that this is not the moment to affirm it with kisses and an in-depth chat. I was about to play along with it but then I thought, hang on a minute! Sisters! Under the skin! Magda! If Magda's husband has nothing to be ashamed of in dining with this worthless trollop in my suit, he will introduce me.

  I altered my path to pass his table, at which he immersed himself deep in conversation with the trollop, glancing up as I walked past and giving me a firm, confident smile as if to say 'business meeting.' I gave him a look which said, 'Don't you business meeting me,' and strutted on.

  What should I do now, though? Oh dear, oh dear. Tell Magda? Not tell Magda? Ring Magda and ask if everything's OK? Ring Jeremy and ask him if everything's OK? Ring Jeremy and threaten to tell Magda unless he drops the witch in my suit? Mind my own business?

  Remembering Zen, Kathleen Tynan and Inner Poise, I did a version of Salute to the Sun I remembered from distant Yogacise class and centred myself, concentrating on the inner wheel, till the flow came. Then I resolved serenely to tell no one, as gossip is a virulent spreading poison. Instead I will ring Magda a lot and be there for her so if anything is amiss (which she is bound, with woman's intuition, to sense), she will tell me. Then if, through

  Flow, it seems the right thing to do, I will tell her what I saw. Nothing of value comes through struggle; it is all about Flow. Zen and the art of life. Zen. Flow. Hmmm, but then how did I happen to bump into Jeremy and the worthless trollop if not through Flow? What does that mean, then?

  Tuesday 11 April

  8st alcohol units 0, cigarettes 0, Instants 9 (this must stop).

  All seems normal with Magda and Jeremy so maybe it was just a business meeting. Maybe the Zen and Flow notion is correct, for there is no doubt that by relaxing and going with the vibes I have done the right thing. Am invited to a glittering literati launch of Kafka's Motorbike next week at the Ivy. Determined, instead of fearing the scary party, panicking all the way through and going home pissed and depressed, am going to improve social skills, confidence and Make Parties Work for Me – as guided by article have just read in magazine.

  Apparently, Tina Brown of The New Yorker is brilliant at dealing with parties, gliding prettily from group to group, saying, 'Martin Aims! Nelson Mandela! Richard Gere!' in a tone which at once suggests, 'My God, I have never been more enchanted to see anyone in my entire life! Have you met the
most dazzling person at the party apart from you? Talk! Talk! Must network! Byeee!' Wish to be like Tina Brown, though not, obviously, quite so hardworking.

  The article is full of useful tips. One should never, apparently, talk to anyone at a party for more than two minutes. When time is up, you simply say, 'I think we're expected to circulate. Nice to meet you,' and go off. If you get lost for words after asking someone what they do to which they reply 'Undertaker' or 'I work for the Child Support Agency,' you must simply ask, 'Do you enjoy that?' When introducing people add a thoughtful detail or two about each person so that their interlocutor has a conversational kicking-off point. E.g., 'This is John – he's from New Zealand and enjoys windsurfing.' Or, 'Gina is a keen skydiver and lives on a barge.'

  Most importantly, one must never go to a party without a clear objective: `whether it be to 'network,' thereby adding to your spread of contacts to improve your career, to make friends with someone specific; or simply 'clinch' a top deal. Understand where have been going wrong by going to parties armed only with objective of not getting too pissed.

  Monday 17 April

  8st 12, alcohol units 0 (v.g.), cigarettes 0 (v.g.),Instants 5(but won ?2 so total Instants expenditure only ?3).

  Right. Tomorrow is Kafka's Motorbike. Am going to work out clear set of objectives. In a minute. Will just watch adverts then ring up Jude.

  Right.

  1) Not to get too pissed.

  2) To aim to meet people to network with.

  Hmmmm. Anyway, will think of some more later.

  11 p.m. Right.

  3) To put the social skills from the article into action.

  4) To make Daniel think I have inner poise and want to get off with me again. No. No.

  4) To meet and sleep with sex god.

  4) To make interesting contacts in the publishing world, possibly even other professions in order to find new career.

  Oh God. Do not want to go to scary party. Want to stay home with bottle of wine and watch Eastenders.

  Tuesday 18 April

  9st 7 (oh dear), cigarettes 30, calories (cannot bear to think about it), Instants 1 (excellent).

  Party got off to a bad start when could nor see anyone that I knew to introduce to each other. Found myself a drink then spotted Perpetua talking to James from the Telegraph. Approached Perpetua confidently, ready to swing into action but instead of saying 'James, Bridget comes from Northamptonshire and is a keen gymnast' (am going to start going to gym again soon), Perpetua just carried on talking – well beyond the two-minute mark and ignored me.

  I hung around for a while feeling a total git, then spotted Simon from Marketing. Cunningly pretending I had not intended to join Perpetua's conversation at all, I bore down purposefully upon Simon, preparing to say, 'Simon Barnett!' in the style of Tina Brown. When I was almost there, however, I noticed that, unfortunately, Simon from Marketing was talking to Julian Barnes. Suspecting that I might not be able to fully pull off crying, 'Simon Barnett! Julian Barnes!' with quite the required gaiety and tone, I hovered indecisively then started to sidle away, at which point Simon said in an irritated superior voice (one you, funnily enough, never hear him use when he is trying to get off with you by the photocopier), 'Did you want something, Bridget?'

  'Ah! Yes!' I said, panicking wildly about what it was I could possibly want. 'Ahm.'

  'Yeees?' Simon and Julian Barnes looked at me expectantly.

  'Do you know where the toilets are?' I blurted out. Damn. Damn. Why? Why did I say that? I saw a faint smile hover over the thin-but-attractive lips of Julian Barnes.

  'Ah, actually I think they're over there. Jolly good. Thanks,' I said, and made for the exit. Once out of the swinging doors I slumped against the wall, trying to get my breath back, thinking, 'inner poise, inner poise.' It was not going particularly well so far, there were no two ways about it.

  I looked wistfully at the stairs. The thought of going home, putting my nightie on and turning on the telly began to seem irresistibly attractive. Remembering the Party Objectives, though, I breathed in deeply through my nose, murmured, 'inner poise' and pushed through the doors back into the party. Perpetua was still by the door, talking to her ghastly friends Piggy and Arabella.

  'Ah, Bridget,' she said. 'Are you going to get a drink?' and held out her glass. When I returned with three glasses of wine and a Perrier they were in full autowitter.

  'I have to say, I think it's disgraceful. All it means in this day and age is that a whole generation of people only get to know the great works of literature – Austen, Eliot, Dickens, Shakespeare, and so on – through the television.'

  'Well, quite. It's absurd. Criminal.'

  'Absolutely. They think that what they see when they're 'channel hopping' between Noel's House Party and Blind Date actually is Austen or Eliot.'

  'Blind Date is on Saturdays,' I said.

  'I'm sorry?' said Perpetua.

  'Saturdays. Blind Date is on Saturdays at seven-fifteen, after Gladiators.'

  'So?' said Perpetua sneerily, with a sideways glance at Arabella and Piggy.

  'Those big literary adaptations don't tend to go out on Saturday nights.'

  'Oh look, there's Mark,' interrupted Piggy.

  'Oh God, yah,' said Arabella, beadily. 'He's left his wife, hasn't he?'

  'What I meant was, there isn't anything any good like Blind Date on the other side during the literary masterpieces, so I don't think that many people would be channel hopping.'

  'Oh, Blind Date is 'good,' is it?' sneered Perpetua.

  'Yes, it's very good.'

  'And you do realize Middlemarch was originally a book, Bridget, don't you, not a soap?'

  I hate Perpetua when she gets like this. Stupid old fartarse bag.

  'Oh, I thought it was a soap or a shampoo,' I said, sulkily grabbing a handful of passing sate sticks and shoving them into my mouth. As I looked up I saw a dark-haired man in a suit straight in front of me.

  'Hello, Bridget,' he said. I nearly opened my mouth and let all the sate sticks fall right out. It was Mark Darcy. But without the Arnold Palmer-style diamond-patterned sweater.

  'Hello,' I said through my mouthful, trying not to panic. Then, remembering the article, turned towards Perpetua.

  'Mark. Perpetua is . . . I began and then paused, frozen. What to say? Perpetua is very fat and spends her whole time bossing me around? Mark is very rich and has a cruel-raced ex-wife.

  'Yes?' said Mark.

  ' . . . is my boss and is buying a flat in Fulham, and Mark is,' I said, turning desperately to Perpetua, 'a top human-rights lawyer.'

  'Oh, hello, Mark. I know of you, of course,' gushed Perpetua as if she were Prunella Scales in Fawlty Towers and he were the Duke of Edinburgh.

  'Mark, hi!' said Arabella, opening her eyes very wide and blinking in a way she presumably thought was very attractive. 'Haven't seen you for yonks. How was the Big Apple?'

  'We were just talking about hierarchies of culture,' boomed Perpetua. 'Bridget is one of these people who thinks the moment when the screen goes back on Blind Date is on a par with Othello's 'hurl my soul from heaven' soliloquy,' she said, hooting with laughter.

  'Ah. Then Bridget is clearly a top post-modernist,' said Mark Darcy. 'This is Natasha,' he said, gesturing towards a tall, thin, glamorous girl beside him. 'Natasha is a top family-law barrister.'

  I had the feeling he was taking the piss out of me. Bloody cheek.

  'I must say,' said Natasha, with a knowing smile, 'I always feel with the Classics people should be made to prove they've read the book before they're allowed to watch the television version.'

  'Oh, I quite agree,' said Perpetua, emitting further gales of laughter. 'What a marvelous idea!'

  I could see her mentally fitting Mark Darcy and Natasha in with an array of Poohs and Piggies round the dinner table.

  'They should have refused to let anyone listen to the World Cup tune,' hooted Arabella, 'until they could prove they'd listened to Turandot all the way through!'
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  'Though in many respects, of course,' said Mark's Natasha, suddenly earnest, as if concerned the conversation was going quite the wrong way, 'the democratization of our culture is a good thing – '

  'Except in the case of Mr. Blobby, who should have been punctured at birth,' shrieked Perpetua. As I glanced involuntarily at Perpetua's bottom thinking, 'That's a bit rich coming from her,' I caught Mark Darcy doing the same thing.

  'What I resent, though' – Natasha was looking all sort of twitchy and distorted as if she were in an Oxbridge debating society – 'is this, this sort of, arrogant individualism which imagines each new generation can somehow create the world afresh.'

  'But that's exactly what they do, do,' said Mark Darcy gently.

  'Oh well, I mean if you're going to look at it at that level said Natasha defensively.

  'What level?' said Mark Darcy. 'It's not a level, it's a perfectly good point.'

  'No. No. I'm sorry, you're deliberately being obtuse,' she said, turning bright red. 'I'm not talking about a ventilating deconstructionalistic freshness of vision. I'm talking about the ultimate vandalization of the cultural framework.'

  Mark Darcy looked as if he was going to burst out laughing.

  'What I mean is, if you're taking that sort of cutesy, morally relativistic, 'Blind Date is brilliant' sort of line . . . ' she said with a resentful look in my direction.

  'I wasn't, I just really like Blind Date,' I said. 'Though I do think it would be better if they made the pickees make up their own replies to the questions instead of reading out those stupid pat answers full of puns and sexual innuendos.'

  'Absolutely,' interjected Mark.

  '1 can't stand Gladiators, though. It makes me feel fat,' I said. 'Anyway, nice to meet you. Bye!'

 
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