After the Normans came over from France and nicked most of our farms and towns, they conducted a massive survey of England; recording, in quite astonishing detail… well, basically everything. How many oxen Lucy Robinson keeps in her garden, how many farms Katy Regan owns, how many fisheries Rachael Wright presides over.
It was an amazing feat. A whole load of royal officers charged forth and scoured every town in the country, demanding to know everything from how much you earned to the number of sheep in your fields. They did it in a ridiculously short space of time and created a mega database called the Domesday Book.
Given the fact that people still killed each other with spears back then, and that there was almost no infrastructure, and that skies were dark and life was often quite shit and hard, it was a totally amazing feat.
But that was 1086.
Now it is 2010. And I am therefore a little surprised to find myself barricaded in my apartment in Buenos Aires because a Domesday-style census is in progress. I’m not joking, I cannot leave my house. No-one can. The streets are empty. Everything is closed. Nothing is working. Everyone is sitting in their house, waiting for a mystery person to push an enevelope under their door. WTF?! This has got to be a joke! I’m half tempted to leave a mince pie and glass of sherry out. I simply cannot believe that someone isn’t pulling my leg.
And since commencing this blog I have discovered that Argentina’s ex-president, Nestor Kirchner, died earlier, so I suspect the country will be at a standstill for at least another two days. I feel like I’m in the apocalypse. But on a more serious note, my condolences. There are a lot of extremely upset people here and I don’t want to insult them with my self-absorbed witterings.
So, given my incarceration I suddenly find myself with time to blog but very little to report on. I am going to take this opportunity, therefore, to tell you about a bizarre situation that I found myself in just before I commenced life as a Marie Claire blogger. I was telling the story to a friend online last night and it re-opened a file in my head that has been closed for some time: The Mystery of Michael the Lawyer.
Michael the lawyer was the friend of a friend who I met in a bar. He turned up looking a little ridiculous; he’d lost his work clothes somehow and was attired in full running kit. I think we did get to the bottom of this at some stage but I was too drunk to retain the details.
Anyway, Michael and I started talking, and then dancing. They were playing classic rock n roll in the bar we were in. We jived and swung and bopped like mofos. It was heaven; one of those nights when you feel that the world around you has kind of stopped and it’s just you and one other person in a delicious Elvis Presley-centric bubble. Man, we rocked. We danced for hours and laughed and talked and looked at each other in that Special Way that is shorthand for I Want To See You Naked. And Then Talk All Night. And Then Nearly Die With The Effort Of Not Calling You Tomorrow Night Once You’ve Left My House.
At some stage in the wee hours of the morning, snogging occurred. And god bless my soul, it was lovely snogging. It felt like the snogging that takes place after a chase of several months, not four hours. I was slightly delirious.
Then he said, very reluctantly, that he had to go home. He lived in far way West London and we were rocking out somewhere on the N1/E1 border. I smiled seductively and said “I live ten minutes’ walk from here.” He smiled back at me. Then I added “but expect nothing.” I had already decided I liked this man too much to sleep with him straight away. He seemed to be satisfied with that.
We went back to mine. The walk took about two hours because there was so much snogging and footling around. We sat on a bench in the park and drank MacDonalds tea. (Sorry.) We sang the entire back catalogue of Bruce Springsteen. (Not sorry.) We ate kebabs. We argued, a little improbably, about Oliver Cromwell. Friends: it was chuffing awesome.
On arrival at mine I disappeared off to remove knickers (from my bedroom floor, not from myself) and he came up and caught me in the act. He laughed a lot and threw me on the bed. He ripped off my…
Oh, come off it.
Anyway, the next morning, it was totally ace. We giggled like children, ate food, still didn’t have sex (it was not easy) and made – at his suggestion, I should add – plans for the next time we would see each other. He said things like “I’ll email you this link” and “next time we see each other I want to take you to so and so place for dinner” and even – EVEN – “Amazing! We’re both going to Glastonbury! By then our friends will be friends and we can have a tent kingdom!”
I shit you not. He was KEEN. He told me Deep Stuff about his past and present. He held back on nothing. But none of it was OTT or forced; it just seemed… um, nice.
It took about four hours for him to leave my front doorway because there was so much snogging; in fact the only reason he did leave was that my aged Italian landlord was walking past and had stopped in the street to stare and sigh loudly at the impropriety of his tennant. Michael the hot lawyer got embarrassed so eventually left, promising to call later on.
I returned to my room, ecstatic, and punched the air.
You know how this story is going to end, don’t you.
I never heard from him again.
I still don’t get it. I STILL DON’T GET IT. Clearly he is not the one for me, because the one for me would bloody well call, but I often think about him as the one who got away. What happened? Did he meet his future wife on the tube on his way home? Did he die? (Actually, I know he didn’t. Our mutual friend, when probed by another friend of mine, just shrugged and smiled. “Oh, Michael,” he said. Fortunately, for the sake of my pride, no further probing was attempted.)
I didn’t even sleep with him! He made continuous references to our future! He was talking about our friends being friends! I PROMPTED NONE OF THESE THINGS! I agreed to none of them! I just smiled!
Ah, such is life. I got over it. But still. When I heard from a friend last night in a similar situation, I felt a little pang. Where is Michael the Lawyer? Why did he never call? And – the question that all women ask themselves when this happens – what is wrong with me?