Thursday, June 07, 2007


I was lying on the sunbed, when my phone started ringing. It eventually went to voice-mail, but would start ringing again. And again. My few moments of peace were ruined anyway, so I reached over, and answered my phone. It was Ms W.

Lying on a sun-bed is very relaxing. From one’s prone position, various high-powered fans can be turned on so a perfectly warm yet not over-heated temperature can be maintained. The beds have an in-built stereo-system, and it used to be that one had a choice of about ten channels to listen to. I don’t know if the place has changed ownership, but this selection has whittled away over the last year to one channel. This one channel only ever seems to play Sheryl Crow, or noisome hip-hop, neither of which I am especially fond, so the whole experience is less enjoyable than it used to be.

But I digress.
"Where are you?" she asked. "What's that noise? I can hardly hear you."
"I am being sucked into the whirling vortex of hell," I said, which was partially true.
"What? Do you want to meet at SPQR? I need to talk. You’ll never believe what The Bitch has done now."
The Bitch is her mother-in-law. Or her husband’s ex-girlfriend.

I could have said no, but didn’t. I wanted a drink, and drinking alone in public is impossibly tragic.

Ms W only ever has one topic of conversation. Like the sunbed, she used to play a variety of channels, and was quite good fun, but now plays only the one tune; My mother-in law/husband’s ex is a bitch. I do have a limit, and I finally reached it.

"You know, perhaps we could talk about something else. Every time we meet up, all you do is complain about them. You never ask about me, or what I am doing."
Ms W went quite red, and I swear I saw wisps of steam escaping her ears. She got very angry. After the exchange of a few terse words, I realised that leaving was probably the wisest thing to do. I put $20 on the table to cover my one glass of wine, and left.

Oh well. At least I will have added a new topic to her repertoire; Mrs Smith is a bitch.

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