I got a little lost in Fulham yesterday. I was going to ask for directions, but I was intimidated by the glossiness of everyone’s hair. Between that and the gleamingly polished 4x4s, I could barely see. No wonder I was lost. Luckily, I just kept walking aimlessly until I found myself where I needed to be. (I’m sort of like a reverse Google Maps. I can’t tell you how to get anywhere, but I have total faith that places do exist. Actually, that’s really nothing like Google Maps. More like a person with no sense of direction who subscribes to normal beliefs about space and matter).
Anyway, I was in Fulham to help a friend. She’s writing her dissertation, and sent me a panicked message late one evening. ‘Would you be able to come over and read my dissertation? I’ll pay you in sweets. Or money.’ I do really like sweets. I was surprised that my friend offered to pay me at all (in either sugar or sterling). To be fair, I’m pretty much consistently surprised when people pay me. The first 6 months of paydays were thrilling. I don’t think the novelty has worn off. Last weekend I did some translation work for my Mother. She popped over on Monday at some godforsaken hour. ‘I have some money for you.’ ‘I’m asleep.’ ‘OK. I’m going to leave it on this Zadie Smith.’ I woke up a few hours later to a wad of twenties. It was like being reverse-burgled. (Yes, there are going to be a lot of ‘reverse-somethinged’ comments today. Try to keep up. Whilst walking backwards). That was pretty exciting too.
I read my friend’s dissertation (which I thought was excellent, especially once she had implemented my suggestions). ‘I’m so sorry. I haven’t bought you any sweets.’ ‘That’s OK. I’ve just come from the cinema. I spent £8 on my ticket, and £9 on pick ‘n’ mix.
Also, I’m your friend. Helping you out is part of that.’ I stopped talking to look at her meaningfully. ‘Friends don’t pay friends. But they can give them presents.’ I think she understood. It was reverse-psychology. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).