Date: 4 December.
Location: Bed. I can’t be exciting all the time.
…in which I tell you a whole bunch of seemingly unconnected pieces of information, some of which may help you better understand the summer that’s about to unravel. No promises.
1. Back when I was a prim little private school girl I made some friends. Thanks, hold the sarcasm. One of those was ‘Celine’. You’ve met her already: she’s Kidman-pale and doll eyed, with wild red curls that she’s wrangled into permanent straighteness and a passion for all accessories black, gold and spiky. She’s the love hold of Alexander McQueen and the Little Mermaid. She works in the media, has an unnatural lust for all things politics and counter-terrorism, has lived in London and Doha and is never without a flawless gold-glitter shellac mani. She is also the warmest, kindest girl I have ever met. She’s my moral compass, my therapist, my book club (my other ‘book club’ having fallen apart once we discovered that the only taste in books we shared was a taste for forsaking them for wine on Saturday nights.)
And then there’s ‘Joey’. You haven’t met her yet because she has been off corrupting young minds across the Mediterranean. Joey has that thing. Tall, slender, confident with dark hair that falls long and always styled in bright colours, boys just fall in love with her on sight. She’s the Australian girl guys hope to meet. She starts parties. She makes you laugh. She wears too much fake tan. She always has a bottle of something strong in her handbag. She’s irreverent and whip-smart and has a law degree but doesn’t use it (except, perhaps, to know precisely how much trouble she can legally cause). Several years ago Joey migrated north to Whistler for a ski season and promptly became door bitch at the resort’s hottest club. Since then she’s basically made guest appearances back home in Melbourne, flitting from being wildly successful as a Contiki tour leader in Canada, around Australia, between Grecian isles, on Ibiza.
Celine, Joey and I (collectively, ‘The Panel’) are practically never in Melbourne at the same time. If I’m here, Joey is studying law in Toronto. If Joey’s here, Celine is working for Al Jazeera in Qatar. If Celine’s here I’m working front desk at a youth hostel in British Columbia.
But now Celine is living just a few suburbs over. And Joey is back for summer.
2. I usually like the friends of my friends so when, back in the law firm days, Kennedy introduced me to a college friend who had just started at the firm I was so ready to like her. Said friend was teeny tiny, regular-featured, high-pitched and pure honey blonde. I disliked her instantly. She was also a regular Little Miss Melbourne: a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club, the Victorian Racing Club, the Royal Melbourne Golf Course.
One afternoon at a firm lunch (a horrendous weekly affair frighteningly reminiscent of a school cafeteria: Where are my friends? Who can I sit with? Why does the kitchen think combining mincemeat and macaroni and calling it a side dish is ok?) we were at the same table. I said hi. She sad hi. She complimented me on my favourite green skirt. I said thanks. She said she had the same one — did I get mine for, like, $30 at the warehouse? I very much phadn’t. I resumed actively disliking her.
Three months later would see us guzzling champagne at The Italian and giggling our heads off. Turns out that under that prim, lacquered exterior is a cheeky, crazily neurotic and energetic creature, a country girl whose parents just want her to marry well but who is currently violently single. She’s fab and I love her. And she’s moving to London in the same week as me! We shall refer to her as ‘Legally Blonde’.
3. Earlier in the year, my most highly-educated friend, The Planeteer, dated Bunky’s cousin. Said cousin is a normal-ish guy a year or two older so it’s not as weird as it sounds. Emphasis in the ‘-ish’ because they ended up breaking up.
Anyway, given the Shambles that is my family, I’m fortunate enough to be invited to spend Christmas Day with the Bunky extended family. It’ll be a fun, well-fed cheerful affair. However, I’m led to understand the aforementioned cousin is bring his new squeeze — a girl The Planeteer had strongly suspected he was into. And a girl who Bunky and I had strongly suspected of being a lesbian. I guess this round goes to the Planeteer. (Or not, depending on how you look at it.) Christmas Day should be… interesting.
4. Jim and Dawn are having a white pre-Christmas in Europe, along with Wolfgang. The Planeteer is off in Peru saving the world. Everyone needs to come home already.
5. Tassels moved in down the street last weekend. We drank expensive sparkles and ate Doritos off her cheap cardboard box coffee table to celebrate.
6. I’m planning my annal Christmas ‘kris kringle and mingle’ party. One bottle of Grey Goose vodka is infusing with candy canes and another with lemon, orange, mixed spice, cloves and dried fruit — the flavours of Christmas pudding. So planning is going well-ish. Again, emphasis on the ‘-ish’. have invited 40 people. My apartment fits 20. Santa, I’ve been good, I swear: time for a Christmas miracle.