Aug 07 2009
And why shouldn’t I treat myself? This is the first birthday I’ve had, since becoming a wage earner aged 16, that I haven’t bought myself a birthday present.
I do it every year. Whether it be a new phone, a snazzy but pointless gadget, a trip away. This year, I did not.
So, I’m perfectly entitled to sit in the Westbury and order an €11 glass of wine and watch the world of the wealthy wander by.
There’s a wedding on, but I’ve found a quiet corner in The Marble Bar. Near me is a table of four. The D4 Mummy is looking dishevelled, but expensively so. Her children, a boy and a girl, are quiet. I’m the first to admit that a noisy child is the single most annoying thing you can find in a bar, but these kids were too quiet. They clearly don’t want to be here. Mummy chastises one of them for not sitting up straight. The 10 year old girl promptly corrects her posture.. Daddy seems oblivious.
He is slumped in his chair, bored with the world. His phone rings and he glances at it with a mixture of fear and disgust. He doesn’t answer it. Instead, he stares at the phone, now resting on the table. He stares at it, as if contemplating the death of the phone or his own demise. “It’s either you or me, phone.”
Has he lost his fortune in the recession? Has he just been laid off? Did his stallion not make it to the Horse Show? Or is he just bored with his lot? His irritating wife, his ‘perfect’ children, the SUV and the private members club, the big house and the boring friends.
Mummy informs the family that they are leaving. The girl and boy jump to their feet with military precision. Daddy drags himself out of the chair slowly. He contemplates his phone again, before pocketing it. Shoulders hunched, he dutifully follows his wife and kids out the door and back to a life he clearly does not want.
I sip my wine. It tastes good and I smile.