Thursday, January 25, 2007

Gordon's Breakfast - 38

It's almost six o’clock when Larissa Snowe and I are standing outside her house, her suitcases and bags packed and lined up in an orderly row on the pavement, waiting for Charlotte to arrive and drive her to the airport. It's grimy humid September day and feels like a rather perfect day to be leaving.

]I'm kicking the kerb with my shoe and I have my hands stuffed deep in my pockets of my now deeply crumpled post-wedding suit. I think I have pretty much perfected the look of the guy who didn't make it home after the party. Larissa Snowe is dressed in designated comfy travel gear loose fitting black cotton trousers and a white long sleeved top. She has her hands locked together and pushed in front of her and is swaying very slowly from side to side marking time to some silent beat.

"Errrm look," I say.
"You don't have to wait, she'll be here any moment, go. I only plan to get weepy once and Charlie has reserved that slot."
"I don't like to leave you standing, you and all your bags."
"Well you're going to have to."
"I could…"
"No you couldn't."
"You don't know what I'm going to say."
"Oh yes I do and the answer is no."
"I was going to say that I could still come to the airport."
"I told you I knew, you know you can't. Then we'd have airport history."
"What you mean as well as other more general history?"
"Yes as well as that, one can have too much history."
"True, altogether a lot of history going on there."
"Exactly."
"I had something else I wanted to say."
"Oh really? Is that a good idea, people tend to get all mushy and say things they regret at times like this."
"I know, but I'm not going to regret this."
"Are you sure? Maybe we should do the regret test first."
"The regret test? And that would be?"
"It's where you stand and think about what it is you are going to say and ask yourself would you say it in public without being completely and utterly humiliated."
"Okay, I think I passed the regret test. At least I think I have, you'll have to let me know. It might be one of those things that teeters on the edge a bit."
"Gordon, you're making me nervous now."
"Sorry."
"Go on then, hit me with it."
"You know, I'm kind of nervous now, I wasn't expecting such a build up."
"Oh get on with it."
"Okay...well, I was just going to say...that you know."
"You know? I know what?"
"Come on, you know what I mean."
"Not quite, but then communication skills have never been your strong point have they?"
"I guess, when you put it that way, possibly not."
"So in full?"
"I'm going to miss you," I say.
"I'm glad you said it. I think I’ve been waiting to hear that for a while. I don't think its something you would have said before that. Must be progress. I think you would have just smiled and been under the impression that we all speak the unspoken language."

I can't help laughing this it's so true. The unspoken language and me go back along long way. I've been miscommunicating with people for years quite happily. Apparently, and I didn’t know this, very few speak the unspoken language, shocker right? So if you really want to get through to someone you actually have to get the words out loud. I still find that hard to believe, but you know apparently it’s true.

"You're right, it does seem to work better when you say it aloud."
"Who would have guessed?"
"Not me."
"I'm going to miss you too, you got that bit didn’t you?"
"Yeah, my residual unspoken language receptors are still working."
And then it's Larissa Snowe 's turn, "Look..."
"Maybe I should just kiss you and be done with it?"
"I think so."

So we do and then really that's it, we're kind of done.

"I should go then."
"Guess you should."

There's a car pulling up behind us and I start to take a couple of steps backwards, I glance over my shoulder and see Charlotte's black VW Beetle gliding towards us. I raise my hand in front of my body like I'm saying 'how' and Larissa Snowe does the same.

"You should come visit me, if you've got nothing else to do," Larissa Snowe calls.
"What you mean we could be holidaying exes?"
"Don't get your hopes up, you know I would never go out with you again," she says smiling.
"Hey, I'm not challenged, besides I think there's only one girl who would go out with me."
"Well you had your chance."
"So I've been told. I'll guess I’ll be seeing you in Barcelona, although you do realise we will then have holiday history, right?"
"Oh I hadn't thought of that."
"Have a good flight," I say and I turn and walk away.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gordon's Breakfast - 37

I'd like to tell you something about Sunday, but apart from that it's the day after Saturday and that it followed Susan's wedding, and our genius wedding intervention, I really can't help you out other than to say Larissa Snowe and I had a rather brilliant post wedding intervention lunch and end of summer cocktail session, which sadly confined me to the couch for most of the day drinking Darjeeling tea and watching black and white movies.

Larissa Snowe although groggy did manage to dedicate herself yesterday to a little more Barcelona packing, but she who is usually industrious under any circumstances agreed after a while that spending the rest of the day lying on the couch and not moving was really quite the best kind of activity that anyone could dream up.

I'm still lying on the couch on Larissa Snowe's couch today reading Nabakov, but mostly watching Larissa Snowe scurry around the her house like manic packing girl. I swear that girl loves to pack. Even though she has booked herself a sensible night flight and has hours to go, and all her bags are arranged like statues in a row, she keeps going. Larissa Snowe tells me that she knows exactly what her luggage allowance is and she intends to use it all. By this later afternoon stage she has checked off all her checklists and is really just engaged in a mopping up operation that has her combing her house looking for stragglers in the form of any items that she might have overlooked.

"Are you actually looking for anything in particularly?" I ask her.

Larissa Snowe puts her hand to her chin and surveys the room.

"I'm just looking at things that jump out and scream 'take me take me'."
"And how many calls have you had so far?"
"None, I thought more would call out, what do you think is behind the lack of calling?"
"You know why that is don't you? You've packed everything, your flat is almost bare, now Lissa please stop and sit down."
"The thing is I know that they are out there, just out of reach."
"Whoa."
"Whoa? Yeah, whoa, you know what's happening don't you? You're turning into crazy packing girl."
"I thought you said I was a little eccentric?"
"I did, but like any good airline I've upgraded you it seemed necessary."
"Hmmph."

My phone rings as Larissa Snowe continues to look and as I pick it up and look at the blue lit up screen I see its Alison. I show the screen to Larissa Snowe who tells me to get as many details as possible about the fate of the wedding post our performance.

"Hey," I go.
"Hey back to you," says Alison, "I can't believe you kept that quiet, that is so unlike you, you never usually keep anything quiet."
"I know," I say, "I feel like I'm growing, my ability to keep big nuclear sized secrets is a sure sign."
"You're right about the sure sign," she says.
"So how did we go down?"
"Well I think most people were unaware that comedy routines are part of the ceremony. I think you were a big hit, if not in all the right places. Adam was burning."
"Ha! I can't say I feel bad about that."
"I have to say I was very impressed. I couldn't believe you would ever attempt anything so…"
"Bold?"
"Bold yes, but…"
"But, you know I could really do without the but," I say.
"Sorry about that. I was going to say suicidal."
"Oh, I suppose, you're right, it was a bit last stand, but last stands are underrated there's the glory, the honour. People love that stuff."
"The death? I seem to remember that death is a part of last stands as well."
"Yeah, there is the death, but I'm trying not to think about that so much right now."
"Did you ever consider doing anything before the wedding?"
"You know we did, but in the end grand romantic gesture won out."
"Grand romantic gesture? Is that what they're calling it?"
"Well it's what I hear."
"It's a shame."
"So it goes."
"And it goes both ways," says Alison.
"Yeah, touché, so come on tell me."
"I suppose you want to know if it still happened?"
"Can I lie and say no?"
"Of course you can. Lying in your situation is perfectly acceptable."
"Cool."
"But I'm sure soon enough you're bound to bump into Mr and Mrs Adam Wright."
"Shocking, I feel like I just tripped into some alternate universe where only the madly impossible is possible. Is she keeping her name?"
"You know, I don't think she is. I don't think Susan is half as unconventional as people might think at times."
"True. Do you think I can make it out of this alternate universe?"
"I don't think so, you're travel permit has been revoked, for unspecified crimes. You'll just have to live in a world where there is a Susan Wright."
"That sucks, tell me it was a beautiful moment, you know after Lissa and I beat a retreat."
"It was a beautiful moment."
"Seriously, was it?"

There's a pause on the other end of the line as Alison goes mmm as she thinks it over.

"If you had asked me last year I would have told you that all wedding are beautiful moments in their own special way. Now…I don't know. I think Susan looked stunning in her dress and there was a moment when I first saw her walk by that made the day for me."
"That's a rather wonderful thing to say, Susan would love that."
"I know she would, but it happens to be true."
"I swear she's wasted."
"You swear a lot of things."
"True. How long do you think it will last?"
"Mmm, not sure, but I wouldn't get your hopes up?"
"Hey, you mean hopes go up as well as down? I never knew that, damn."

Alison indulges me and laughs.

"Are you taking Lissa to the Airport?"

This is a big question and the answer is no. I wanted to, but Larissa Snowe won't let me. She's worried that we'll have airport history. You know the joke when your girlfriend, or in my case non/ex-girlfriend, says to you 'how come you never take me to the airport anymore?'. I love that movie. And don't talk to me about the dark side.

"No she's worried we'll have airport history."
"It's a good point, no one need unnecessary airport history."
"I guess. What time do you want me over?"
"Oh my mother is coming round at seven, so after that?"
"Okay."
"You know my mother is looking forward to seeing you again."
"Ali, that worries me, you know?"
"I know it worries me too."
"You don't think she thinks, you know?"
"I think she might."
"I have got to put her straight, this could get out of hand."
"Are you sure about that? Last time you tried you ended up as the man in charge."
"Good point, maybe I should say nothing."
"I really think that's best," Alison says.

And with that we both hang up and I sit there for a moment or two and find myself saying "ugh" out loud. and then thinking, thinking…well really not sure what I'm thinking.

"What's wrong?" asks Larissa.

I shake my head.

"Oh nothing," I say.

And to myself, "it was just something that Alison said".

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Gordon's Breakfast - 36

Of the many things I wished I had never uttered that last sentence is up there quite highly on the list. Immediately after I've said it a fresh round of church titters rises.


"Yes and it was really for old time's sake," Lucy Snowe threw in.
"Anyway who told you," I shout.
"Alison did," and Susan stumps her foot.
"Oh Susan," Alison says sliding down in her seat, baby and all.
"Alison!" I shout, "I can’t believe you did that."
"Sorry."
"I told you not to tell anyone."
"Why did you do that?" Larissa Snowe asks.
"Because I thought I was a secret."
"I don't care how many times you did it what are you doing at my wedding?"
"That's pretty obvious," Larissa Snowe cries back.
"Larissa Snowe? Maybe I can take over now?"
"Look can you two just pi…" Adam starts.
"Adam, be quiet," Susan snaps.
"You know why I'm here I can't believe you're marrying Adam."
"Ha, too late," Adam snipes back with a self-satisfied grin on his face.

Susan throws him another dirty look before she stamps her foot again.

"This is precisely why I couldn't ever go out with you even if you had got off your lazy backside and asked me, which you never," did and Susan stamps her foot again to drive this point home.

"What are you talking about this is a grand romantic gesture," I say.
"It's not a grand romantic gesture, you fool, it's a juvenile and immature stunt, which is you all over."
"Well I think it's a grand romantic gesture," Larissa Snowe says.
"I don't care what you think. I bet it wasn't even your idea. I bet it was her idea – who you're sleeping with! Now if you don't have anything else to say will the two of you please go! Now!"
"Of course I have something else to say," I shout back.
"What? I'm waiting," and Susan starts tapping her foot, did I mention Susan can be so demanding sometimes?

Truth is I don't have anything else to say, I can't believe how badly thought through this plan is, but as the seconds tick by I realise if nothing else I have absolutely certainty on my side and logic and so I fall back on the most reliable and quite unbeatable section of my argument.

"You can't marry Adam," I say.
"And why not?"
"Yeah, why not," Adam joins in.
"Adam," Susan says.
"What?"
"Because he's...oh I don't know, but you can't, what better reason do you need than that?"
"That's not a reason," Susan cries.
"Of course it is," I respond.
"That's useless even by your half baked standards. Adam is mature. He's a grown-up, which is what you need when you're 34."
"That's absolutely rubbish, he's not mature. He's just tall, that's completely different, you're confusing two very separate things."

This last comment of mine is so successful that it draws another round of laughter, which possibly was not the effect I was looking for. Susan on the other hand just makes a loud growling noise in frustration.

"Urrrgh, that's it go, now! Immediately."

I think I'm pretty sure I've blown it at this point and so I look at Larissa Snowe who is grinning back at me sheepishly and then shrugs her shoulders and trying not to look at anyone else we slip out of the pew and walk back down the aisle to the church door. I am desperate to look over my shoulder as we retreat, but despite the strongest temptation I don't.

Outside the sun is shinning brighter than every before. It is in fact a beautifully sunshiny English summers day. Clear and sharply bright causing everything to sparkle. We put on our sunglasses and we light cigarettes.

"Well that went well," I say.
"Hmmm, I thought you gave up too easily."
"Gave up too easily?"
"Yes, I thought you should have fought it out."
"I kind of took my cue to leave when she said go now and immediately. I think it was kind of over by that point. It just left me with the impression that we weren't going to stop any wedding."
"Second thoughts I think you're right as wedding interventions go it was poor."
"Agreed, anyway I think that qualifies rather easily as the most stupid thing I have ever, and I mean ever, done."
"Well I really did think it was a grand romantic gesture. It worked for me."

I shake my head and I feel a smile spread.

"Thanks, you weren't quite the target audience, but hey I guess the market for grand romantic gestures isn't quite what it used to be."
"Well what does one do after trying to break up a wedding?" Larissa Snowe says grinning.
"You know, that's what I like about you, abject failure – you're okay with it. You're just so optimistic."
"Oh I can't hep it. I'm just ready for my next challenge."
"I'm thinking funeral? Not sure what the angle is, but maybe we can swing it. What do you say?"
"Take me to the corpse," Larissa Snowe says laughing, "any suggestions?"
"Well, it's damned sunny and rather a perfect day and considering how quickly alcohol goes to one's head in weather like this I say we drink cocktails and a lavish lunch to celebrate our failed wedding intervention. That leaves you one clear day to recover and sort yourself out for Barcelona."
"Oh I think that's a splendid idea. You do know of course that we will end up very drunk?"
"Hey I'm rather counting on it."
"You know what this means don't you?"
"Errr not exactly."
"We may end up back at my place."

I can't help laughing at this, particularly after everything that has happened back inside the church.

"I'm going to have to take you to weddings more often," I say.
"Come on let's go," Larissa Snowe says.

We walk away from the church, from the guests and leave the wedding to its own devices.