Posted by: Vicky V | November 18, 2009

Environmental issues

As I sat in Cream Horn’s office waiting to have my head cut off for practising Eastern relaxation techniques, I wondered if it might just save us all the time if I just walked the plank from her outsized window onto the street outside.

It was only a three foot drop so I’d escape unscathed and, more to the point, spare myself the humiliation of Karen’s gloating and pitying looks as I walked past her desk having been given my marching orders. Nothing, bar a night in the sack with Zack, would give the scheming heifer more pleasure.

As it turned out, the only thing I needed to worry about was having badly positioned myself in CH’s office so that Zack could see my backside through the glass walls. This would have been absolutely fine, excellent even, if my size-too-small cerise silk g-string hadn’t cut into my hips and caused my hip flesh to overflow like some kind of fat river. Zack’s look of dismay (and utter disgust) was reflected in CH’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s mirror opposite me and I resolved to start non-competitively running again.

CH caught me looking in the mirror and said I really needed to reduce the time I spent navel gazing because Ben could do with some research support for the Schools Healthy Eating talks. Turns out Karen hasn’t had enough time to really, you know, “focus” on this subject what with her heavy workload (yes it’s completely exhausting having your hair blow-dryed at the salon round the corner in between having long lunches with models who don’t eat) so she was calling in the reinforcements. I was going to need my own reinforcements to survive working with Grande Negativo Ben so I made a mental note to raid Mum’s valium drawer.

Still, the upside was that I still had a job, my days would be marginally more interesting and if Karen’s hair keeps on looking so good maybe people will start to suspect it’s about as naturally occurring as she is.

So, I was in tres jolie spirits when I joined Team Wedding (Suze, Ian, Gabriella and Ian’s friend Thingummy) for a vodka and wedding debrief after work. But my spirits dropped like a Ming Vase on a windy day when I discovered we were headed for dinner at a dim sum restaurant. Dim Sum = sharing food= my idea of hell on a par with “being denied food completely”.

The reason I don’t do sharing is that, growing up, there was always food on the table. But not for long. You had to move fast otherwise you went without. Brother Spike took particular pleasure in distracting me with pretty things while he nicked all the potatoes. It took months of jujitsu lessons to outwit him. So, in sharing situations nowadays I am haunted by the fear that people will steal my dinner and, knowing that polite society would judge me greedy at best, troubled at worst if I acted on my natural instinct to eat the whole table, I temper these instincts by eating almost nothing.

Dinner was disastrous as I expected. The pressure to comply and lack of food left me with no energy to contribute to Team Wedding. After the wontons I started to wonder whether Gabriella, having learnt my history of sharing food through Suze, had suggested dim sum as a tactic to make me look bad. But then I persuaded myself that the low blood sugar was just making me paranoid… at least that’s what Mum used to say when I claimed Spike was putting worm powder in the potatoes so I wouldn’t eat them.

Everyone else seemed very happy to share. In fact Gabriella was so effing happy about sharing that she insisted on chopping up the last tiny dumpling into five even tinier pieces. This made me want to scream because if they hadn’t been so self absorbed they would have noticed that I’d barely eaten and that the decent, truly sharing thing to do would have been to sign that whole tiny dumpling over to me before I fainted.

But, every cloud and all that – I said my goodbyes, having contributed nothing but a telephone number for portaloo hire, and high-tailed it to the nearest gastro pub. Then I ordered up several “sharing plates” and scarfed the lot in lonely but happy abandon. High on chicken wings and houmous, I was struck with an inspirational lightning bolt and spent the next hour writing copious notes on how who you eat with has a huge impact on what you eat. It was a stroke of research genius for the Schools Healthy Eating talks; why would a school kid tuck into a nice big cream cake if everyone around it was obsessed with eating carrott slithers?

CH is going to be delighted she didn’t make me walk the plank.

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