5 Sep 2010

Post 236: Lost in Suburbia

This title could be a Metaphor for life in my thirties but:

'I think this is the most lost I've ever been',is what I found myself saying at about 1:30 yesterday to Anna (the ultra-kind person who'd agreed to drive me to the blessing of my great friends Mernie and Alasdair's marriage. Yup, that's right, I often muse about how when you get lost you always find where you're going in the end, but yesterday we almost turned round and gave up. I'm glad we didn't, because even though we'd left at 11:15 for a service that started at midday. I wondered out loud again how we used to find anything, for this time we had a Sat Nav and a postcode but the postcode didn't take us to anywhere in particular so we started simply asking random pedestrians if they knew where St Andrews church was. Therein lay the problem, all of Surbiton looks the same – just streets of pleasant, anonymous detached houses, the sort of boring suburbs we used to take the piss out of in our twenties, but actually a not unpleasant place to live if you've grown up a bit and still work in town. Christ, I'm virtually in the countryside where I live, just in reach of my friends which I appreciate massively because it's much more than just being able to drop in on me these days. But even though I can't complain, I do because I'm tired, bored and lonely and that's what you do when you tire of something, you complain about it.
So getting lost in Suburbia, at least Anna and I laughed about it. Eventually we knocked on the door of the original anonymous house the Sat Nav had taken us to. After we had driven around Suburbiton for what seemed like hours – we'd even driven to random churches -seen a wedding party that turned out to be for some bloke called Bob, and Anna seriously suggested we tag on because it was at least 'a wedding'. Anyway, luckily there were some random people in the anonymous house who gave us another postcode. We followed the Sat Nav to this postcode that turned out to be nowhere in particular, we then asked a pedestrian – 'here we go again' I thought after she had said 'left,left and left again' – we followed these instructions and by some miracle I glanced a group of people outside a hall, a few of whom I recognised -we may have missed the ceremony but we were in time for the reception, it was almost as if I'd planned this! I'm reminded of the line in 'four weddings and a funeral' -'when you've got a reputation for being an idiot...'. I was chuffed to bits to be there and pleased as punch that it'd been Anna and not my mother who'd driven. Had it been my mother, the stress levels would have been off the scale!
I saw a lot of my olld mates, including Tristan and Simon. Tristan now lives in Brazil with his Chilean wife Macarena – it was his original fundraising efforts that had set the ball rolling for the foundation of the trust three and a half years ago and I hadn't seen him for two odd years. Simon is a great friend of mine with one of the darkest senses of humour ever, I love it. Both Simon and Mernie (the bride) were my two closest drinking buddies/confidantes/shoulders to cry on during my twenties (probably the happiest time of my life outside of my four years at university. Bizarrely enough I hadn't known Mernie at University (even though she had been Tristan's girlfriend) and we only really became friends in London where I am entirely to blame for getting her into clubbing. I remember all too well taking my girlfriend and her best friend to some delightful den of iniquity in September 2001, and Mern was there. Tash's best friend took me aside and simply said 'who's the bombshell?' for that is what Mernie is -she is a blonde bombshell – I forget the exact words that Alasdair (the groom) used in his speech yesterday to describe first meeting her, I think it was 'this lovely blonde thing', well I think a cross between the two describes her perfectly.
I also enjoyed seeing some other familiar faces from some of the happier times in my life. Glorious Megan, lovely Leigh and Lizzie, Ingrid,
Sharon, Annabel and Dee, Hannah and Nessa as well as Penny with husband Barry and Hattie with other half Matt all of who had spent many a hard nights drinking in south London's less salubrious speakeasys when the century was younger and binge drinking used to be called drinking. Sadly, as is the way these days I couldn't stay long after the excellent tearjerking and rib-cracking speeches but it was great to see Ant, Tim and Friz and Anand again after all these years. I'm glad we didn't give up despite our lateness and I'm speechless with gratitude to Anna for driving me. These things may be hard for me these days but I will find it in myself to do 'em. When I got home I was lucky enough to see this, which on top of everything rather caught my imagination because it's more or less a description of how I feel:

That was yesterdays adventure. Today has been about a gorgeous old college mate coming to see me – during the week I had been emailed out of the blue by Gina who we'd nicknamed Gina G at college despite her surname resolutely beginning with a C, she had said that her and her husband had recently been on holiday with a friend of mine Matt Hancock , now scarily Matt Hancock M.P. Anyway Gina wanted to see if she and her daughter Tallia could visit. Well, I like to try and make it my business to be visited by beautiful old friends, and she showed up today just as I remember her. 13 month old Tallia is a cutie

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