THE FAIRY HAS LANDED
Whatever happened to the time when it was possible to buy a hairdryer in less than three weeks? You remember those days; you would go into a shop, take out your tenner and say ‘I’ll have a hairdryer, please’, emerging thirty seconds later with a box with a hairdryer in it.
I had to buy one the other day. I’m still recovering from information overload and the stress of making a thousand decisions apparently crucial to the shine and elasticity of my mane. I have a duty to my follicles, it appears.
Old hairdryers had an on/off button, two heat settings and a plug, which even I could work out how to stick into a socket. Here in the 21st Century, however, it wouldn’t surprise me to find university courses devoted to Hairdryers: Choosing and Using in the Western World (Argos to House of Fraser. With special reference to nozzles). Two heat settings??? Luxury!!! Now you have to navigate your way through ceramic, ionic, cyclonic, iconic, colonic, moronic and bubonic. (I think the model I eventually chose also has a setting for iambic pentameter.) Not to mention fine-tooth combs, wide-tooth combs, concentrators, and negative ions super-quiet motor-separate rocker switches with coldshot button volumizing finger diffuser attachments. You just want dry hair??? How weird are you???
I’ve had to choose a lot of things lately, having recently relocated from Nice to London. I’ve taken an unfurnished flat in a leafy part of town, not equipped with even a teaspoon. My furniture arrived from my former marital home last week, but there has been the necessity to acquire a kettle, a printer, assorted crockery and kitchen equipment…the centre of my (large) living room is currently filled with a mound of cardboard boxes, which I might see if I can arrange into some sort of seating, seeing as my beloved designer zebra-fabric sofa wouldn’t fit through the front door, resulting in me having to give it away for free on an internet site.
But I’m gradually settling in after the trauma of moving day. (That’s for another post. Have a strong drink ready.) I had arranged for a car to meet me at Heathrow, and sure enough, there was Sonny, a large, friendly taxi driver, standing in the arrivals area with a Not Nice Etoile sign.
Are you Jewish? was virtually the first thing he said. You look fermished. (Yiddish for fermished). He loaded my luggage into the back of his people carrier and I wearily climbed into the front seat. Do you smoke? he asked. No, I replied. Would you like a cigarette? Yes, I said. And as we puffed our way through the streets to my hotel – Royal Wedding Day, hardly any traffic – I was regaled with The World According to Sonny…
…he told me he’s married to the best woman in the world (40 years) and that he’s now devoted to her because all the messing about he did with other women over the decades tired him out emotionally since he falls in love too easily, though Viagra is fantastic and have I ever seen the roads this clear, mind you trying to drive around the City this morning was a nightmare what with all the road closures and police and parking wardens and why had I come back to London, by-the-way did I want another cigarette?
I ‘ad that Not Nice Etoile in the front of my cab once…
Cosy room in hotel, large flat-screen TV on the wall opposite the comfy bed, posh fish and chips outside a posh fish and chip shop (To eat here or takeaway? To eat here, outside. Would you like it in a takeaway pack? What’s the difference? It’s cheaper, but there’s no table service. OK, you’ll call me in when it’s ready? No, I’ll bring it out to you. Erm…)
The next day I went to view a flat I’d arranged to see from Nice. The owner knew I was flying in on Friday afternoon, told me to turn up on Saturday morning. Which I did. Did you get my email half an hour ago? she enquired. No, I didn’t. Oh, I let it to someone else last night.
Welcome to London, Not Nice Etoile. Homeless. Hopeless. Several suitcases to house. For a while there, cardboard city nearly had another meaning…