I’m at a literary event. I’ve brought my friend. (I use ‘brought’ in the loosest sense of the word, considering she booked and paid for our tickets. Oh god, I’m a kept woman). The evening is taking place approximately 6 minutes walk from my house. I get us hopelessly lost, and we spend 20mins walking through alleys in the dark. (I am only able to lead us on this merry dance because I have told my friend with absolute certainty that I know where we’re going. This is a lie. But one I tell in my firmest voice. The voice I plan on using to explain to my children that ‘no-one noticed that you forgot all your lines in the Christmas play’ whilst secretly planning on showing the film at their wedding).
We arrive at the event despite my best efforts. We are given pieces of paper and pens, in case we wish to write questions for the speakers. I am overly thrilled by the free pen. My friend returns her pen to the organiser, explaining she has brought her own. The organiser looks at my friend, beaming. I wander to the bar in a sulk.
‘But surely you always carry a pen?’ My friend asks me. ‘You’re a writer.’ I glare at my friend and order our drinks. I’m not sure being a kept woman is all it’s cracked up to be. (My friend pays for our drinks and I change my mind).
There’s a brief skirmish while I try to convince my friend that we should sit in the middle of the very front row. The speakers arrive and take their seats. ‘I know that chap!’ my friend whispers to me. ‘The blond one in the middle. I’ve met him before.’ I am sick of my friend upstaging me at this literary event. ‘I wonder where I know him from?’ My friend continues musingly. The host begins to introduce the speakers. It turns out the blonde chap is the lead singer of a fairly famous rock group. (I’m talking somewhere between Radiohead and Hole. Not musically, although that is a collaboration I would very much enjoy. I wonder what Thom Yorke would think of Courtney Love. Only good things I imagine, he seems like a very cheery chap). I turn to my friend. (Unfortunately in my glee I turn somewhat abruptly and spill her beer. I try not to let this undercut my sudden smugness). ‘You don’t know him!’ I whisper loudly to her. ‘He’s famous. You’re a stalker.’ I suddenly don’t mind that my friend brought her own pen and rescued us from being lost. She’s just as uncool as I am. I smile happily, and settle down to enjoy the debate.