This evening I had the misfortune of attending Abigail’s Party. Her name was not of course Abigail, but I am assuming you are familiar with Mike Leigh’s formative masterpiece.
The context. A close friend of my mother who lives up the road. Her birthday, hosted at a friend of hers in another part of town. I drove and made the mistake of agreeing (along with my brother) of attending said party. The hostess – let’s call her “Abigail” – wore what looked like a ball-dress. This in a Victorian semi. Sublime or ridiculous? Perhaps both.
I ended up sandwiched between the hostess and the birthday girl. I say ‘girl’, both women are my mother’s age. More importantly – both women chain smoke. We have finally got home and I reek, and I mean reek, of cigarette smoke. Truly abhorrent. I know, I know. I used to smoke. But I don’t now, it’s been 10 months. If others smoke I don’t as a rule care too much, so long as I’m unaffected. But having sat through 3 hours of chain smoking I feel very affected. It’s not just my clothes – my actual skin smells. It’s disgusting.
The food was vile, bordering on the inedible. Bought from a deli it most certainly was not. Instead, it was all Tesco ‘party food’, i.e. onion bhajis, hideous little flaccid and quite greasy spring rolls, low quality meat sausage rolls, limp prawns in a bowl and one was expected to use a serviette to eat off. Only one didn’t as one draws the line at eating that kind of crap. And I was driving (no change there, this happens all the time here as my brother is conveniently uninsured on my mother’s car; I have my own car which we went in).
And people fret when you don’t drink. I had almost two pints of ginger beer and still they kept pouring it. I haven’t run a half marathon. Like a child with attention deficit disorder – too much sugary, cheap fizzy drink is likely to leave me wired and the end result isn’t pretty.
The guests an assortment of mostly female, middle aged women. All over dressed. Maybe eight people in total? A couple of divorcees. There was a bottle blonde, say 50, who regaled us with stories of her quest to find a ‘younger man’. They talked about men, among other things. I threw daggers at my mother on numerous occasions but – no stranger to the wine herself – she was mostly oblivious. When people say I gravitate to the melodramatic and the pig-headed – I know who I get it from. Mildly unfortunate.
I am now home, stinking of smoke and drinking a glass of well deserved red wine. Even though it is midnight.
The endurance test thus continues…
PS Apologies for not yet having responded to comments left. The PC here is on the slow side and very clunky and just writing and posting is something of an achievement. All comments will be responded to in due course.