Diary mishaps and rampant pot plants

Peter Rosengard's week


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April 29, 2022 05:04

Monday 7.45am
l In bed. I get a text: “Peter —are you OK? I’m here. Are you coming?”
For the first time ever I have stood up a prospective client for a breakfast meeting at my regular table at Claridge’s. Somehow I’d forgotten to put it in my paper diary.
Woody Allen once said: “There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with a life insurance salesman?” He might have gone on to say:“Being stood up by a life insurance salesman is the ultimate humiliation.”
I text my apologies: “I’m so sorry. I forgot to put it my diary! Please have breakfast on me. Call you later to rearrange.”

l Out for dinner — my friend Charles looks up as he’s attempting to put a huge forkful of spaghetti into his mouth and says “ Your eyebrows are out of control! They’ve gone crazy!”
“You don’t have to tell me that,” I say. “Crazy isn’t the word! The left one went to the pub last Thursday night, got drunk and got in a fight!”
“No? You’re kidding me! That’s amazing.”
“Have you heard, Charles, that they’ve just taken the word ‘gullible’ out of the Oxford English Dictionary?” I ask.
“Really?” he says. “Why?”

l Before going to bed I check my voicemail. Am I the only person who now leaves and checks voicemails? Nobody else seems to. I now only check mine weekly.
“You have seven new messages.” Seven? So many? Amazing!
Six were silent calls made over five minutes on Saturday night from a withheld number (a heavy breather? a secret admirer?). Then I remember they were all from me calling my iPhone from the landline to try to find out where I’d left it in the flat.

Tuesday morning
l At breakfast with Erik, a Swedish client. He’s talking about the latest sanctions on an oligarch.
“He won’t even miss his billion dollar yacht —he’s got two more. They never worked their way up, none of them! All are corrupt! In Sweden we say, att glida in på en räkmacka,” he says, as he puts a forkful of scrambled egg in his mouth. “But what does that mean, Erik?” I ask. “It means they slid in on a shrimp sandwich,” Erik explains.

Wednesday noon
l My daughter Lily messages me from New York: “Dad, how are your house plants getting on?”
During lockdown a BBC report said house plants are good for mental health. I immediately bought six tiny ones in pots for my flat on Amazon. That was 18 months ago. They are now 11 feet tall and have taken over the living room, reached the ceiling and gone round the top of the window frames and are coming down the other side. Mental health? I’m getting nightmares about them climbing up the stairs and strangling me in my sleep.
If the plants don’t strangle me I think I might die in my sleep in an avalanche of books. There are two teetering mountains of them either side of my bed. All it will take is for Xerxes the cat to misjudge just one leap. The obituary would say: “He died in his sleep in an avalanche of books” — an adventurous and a literary death at the same time.

Thursday 7 am
l I’m listening to Radio 4 as I type a text to my friend and GP Adam: “When can I come in for a check up?”
A microphone I never knew existed on my iPhone picks up the interview I’m listening to and changes it into type and so my text now reads: “Your 804 days in a cell in an Iranian prison —how has it changed you?” But I only spot this after I have hit ‘send’.

Friday 7:45 am
l I’m sitting waiting for Shane, a new client, at my usual breakfast table at Claridge’s. He’s due at 7.30. I’ve been meeting clients here every weekday morning for over 30 years.
I’ve booked it until December 12 2046. I only call them if I’m not coming. I’ll be 100 and one day old then. I might think of slowing down. I text him: “Are you OK ? I’m here. Are you coming?”
He texts back: “Bloody hell, Peter. Sorry, completely forgot about the meeting. I’ve been down in the basement all morning.”
He’s in the basement?
Then I remember he’s a construction project manager, working on a huge basement construction job in the hotel… so he’s here! Only 65 feet under my table. I send his scrambled eggs down to him.

April 29, 2022 05:04

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