I’m at my friend’s house for lunch. She’s preparing a salad, and I’m helpfully stealing all the washed and halved cherry tomatoes. (Being friends with me is often a Sisyphean endeavor. I make no apologies for this. Cherry tomatoes are delicious. I usually clean them by licking, but it seems my friend had gone all fancy). I take out some plates and set the table. My friend serves our lunch on different plates. I remove the plates I have so considerately placed on the table. ‘So,’ I begin musingly. ‘You know how you promised to come with me next Tuesday to this stand-up comedy gig?’ My friend pales visibly. Though that could be because I have just poured half a litre of deliciously expensive orange and raspberry juice into my glass. (It’s confirmed. My friend has gone all fancy. I resolve to ask for the fanciest pudding I can think of). Unfortunately I am thinking about this so concertedly that I miss entirely what my friend is saying to me. I decide to bluff it out, and continue as if she has not said anything. ‘Well, would it be ok if I tried out some material on you?’ I asked. (Syllabub! That’s fancy. Or fancy-sounding, anyway. Perhaps a parfait, said with an endlessly open mouth and no hint of the ‘t’. ‘Parfait’ would be the perfect thing to shout in a cave. The echo would be tremendous).
My friend nods reluctantly. I stand up. She asks if we can wait til we’ve finished lunch. I give her a suitably withering stare and ask her not to heckle. I begin. My friend interrupts me. ‘You can’t say that,’ she tells me firmly. ‘Oh, sure, of course not. I just said that this time. I won’t say it again. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,’ I tell her. ‘You said it 4 times,’ she reminds me. ‘Yes,’ I reply. ‘I like to be reasonably committed to my moments. Loyalty is important.’ I continue. My friend stops me once more. ‘That’s very offensive also,’ she tells me. I am outraged. My friend is being supremely unsupportive and unhelpful. I wonder whether I should tell her so while I finish off our quiche. My friend softly makes a few alterations to my material. I nod politely, and disagree strongly. ‘I’m going to be a stand-up comic for the common man,’ I point out. ‘I think you’ll find your squeamish prudery is because you’ve gone all fancy. Now would you just let me finish this hilarious bit about my cleaner.’