Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hazelblackberry: I'm (Bridget) Jonesin'

Dear Nick

When do the next year's diaries come out? Here it is September 2004 and I'm just ITCHING to get my 2005 diary. I'm sure they come out around now. I'm SURE. I don't know if I can hang out until October. I have such a pathetic reliance on my diary. The rot set in during high school when it was compulsory to use our homework diaries. As you may be able to tell from the name, they were primarily for recording our homework in - what it was and when it was due etc etc. Ours even had the school crest on them. (Everything was tastefully embossed with the school crest of course.) With us girls it wasn't long before the diaries were decorated with stickers and full of messages and recording the dates of all our best girly friends' birthdays and parties and sleep overs and which night you couldn't miss Family Ties because that's when Michael J Fox and Courtney Cox/Tracey Pollan would KISS.

[Mind you, my attendance at aforementioned sleep overs was severely restricted by Don Mary. Despite many tearful pleadings on the phone to Bloody Ern to PLEASE MAKE HER LET ME GO, Don Mary held firm. No granddaughter of hers was heading down the slippery slope to slutdom via supposedly innocent games of spin-the-bottle, let me tell you. And I suppose she was right. I can, most emphatically, claim that I am not a slut. I may be a raging prude, but by golly I'm no SLUT. Not that there was any danger of that. When all your friends are decorating their homework diaries with pictures of Simon Le Bon and Kurt from Tears for Fears and all the band members from Kids in the Kitchen and you choose pictures of Warren Zevon and Roger Taylor from Queen, probably your chances of growing into a slut are pretty slim. And when I look around at my friends, first-rate sluts one-and-all, I feel a little tingle of pride. I don't see any of THEM developing insane crushes on Jim Carver in The Bill. I'm talking about Jim Carver in the days before he had the tragic weight gain and drinking problem. You see, I'm fickle.]

Anyway...here's my point: it was in the 1980s that I decided to surrender my faculties for remembering dates and addresses unassisted and developed an addiction to diaries. Now I can't live without them! I love the smell and feel of a brand new diary; blank pages filled with promise: next year I will remember everyone's birthdays on time; next year all my work will be done a in a careful, measured manner and not in a last minute freaking-out rush. Look, I am even writing in each pay day and planning out my expenses and a savings plan. I may even keep some kind of system to make sure I email/phone people at appropriate intervals, not once every so often with, "So sorry I haven't written in aaaages. WILL write soon - PROMISE. Must dash - byeeee xxxxx." How perfect next year will be. So perfect that I cannot wait for it to arrive. It's only September and already this year is stale and old. I'm weary of it. Clearly it's been a complete failure. I want to leave it behind and concentrate on what's in front of me. Get a brand new start.

And it's around this time of year I start obsessively stalking various stationery stores waiting for their new diary stock to appear on the shelves. But patience, my pretty. Do not rush headlong into danger. A diary is a major purchase and I have a few requirements like nice creamy-coloured pages, one-day-to-a-page with a monthly summary, tabs for each month and the like. But here are two CRUCIAL deal-breaking criteria: the diary must be able to fit into my handbag (to give myself the impression that like Dominick Dunne writing for Vanity Fair I can just whip this little baby out and take notes of the fascinating conversations going on around me) and MUST BE SPIRAL BOUND.

Last year I got desperate to feed the monkey and, with no other options around, I bought a stitch-bound diary. A major mistake. It has no give, it doesn't work with me. I resent having to entrust to its keeping the minutiae of my life. But it was there when I was in a fix, and now I hate it for being so readily available. So easy to procure. So willing to make everything right. This year I'm staying strong and biding my time for the good gear.

I just hope it's out there somewhere, and soon.

Until next time, Nick.

hb





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