Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I AM now the proud owner of a clipboard. An actual clipboard. A clipboard that is used by people who are in charge of things. It’s given me an enormous sense of self-worth. I mean, I really feel in control of situations now. I’ll even go so far as to say it has opened up a whole new world for me.

Granted, I had already dipped my toes into the hitherto unknown world of structured living when I sent out a group email to 26 women who I am in the process of gathering together to form a hen party.

As the date nears ever closer I can feel a knot beginning to form at the base of my right shoulder blade. It’s a familiar sensation, one which strikes when I begin to feel the pinch of pressure.

I mean, I’m using an Excel spreadsheet for possibly the first time in my life. Me and an Excel spreadsheet – it really is as ludicrous as it sounds.

Before I knew what was happening, I found myself typing numbers into rows of columns like some sort of tortured bunny confined to an office space. I’m not made for Excel spreadsheets, you know. I don’t even know how to use Excel, so I must ask myself what in God’s name I am doing typing numbers into it?

This hen party is changing me – I can feel it in my bones.

First evidence of this was when I had to rally the bride-to-be into actually providing me with names and contact details of those she wanted to invite to her hen. This process took some time, mainly because I kept forgetting. However, once I had committed to the cause, I really did take to it with gusto.

Armed with a completed list, I then faced into my most challenging task – the careful wording of an email to those invited to the hen. You want the tone of the email to be easy and breezy but with purpose. You want to sound fun but in control, organised but not anal, relaxed but on top of things. Basically, I needed to lie.

Once that task had been done, I was forced into embarking on a torturous round of phone calls to various establishments where we had to be very uncouth and talk money over the phone. It was uncomfortable but I really found myself embracing the task. I turned wheeler-dealer. I was like a candidate on The Apprentice. I took to it with so much zest that I nearly started to outbid myself. With the exception of one venue – who I dramatically found myself giving advice to by exclaiming “you’re pricing yourselves out of business” – my approach was sickly sweet. Then, once I had reeled them in, I delivered my hard-girl act. “Let’s talk price,” I quipped, right at the very end, making sure to channel my very best Alan Sugar, thus ensuring the best price.

The only person with whom I did not quibble on price was John the Stripper – mainly because I’d never hired a stripper before and one was not entirely sure how much people charge these days for getting naked. (Yes, yes, we are getting a stripper, but I don’t want to talk about that. It’s a long story.)

I do suspect, however, that John the Stripper is robbing me blind. And actually, if what he is charging me is what people earn for taking their clothes off, I think we should all get into that game. It’s astronomical. Perhaps I should have told John the Stripper that he, too, was pricing himself out of business. Thinking back on it now, he did sound as if he was chancing his arm, and I really have no idea what John the Stripper looks like either. He could be a huge burly farmer from Kerry with cow dung under his fingernails for all I know, and I’ve agreed to give him a pile of cash to entertain us. I’m being taken for a fool, I tell you.

John the Stripper bamboozled me with talk of bananas and whatnot in his Kerry accent. I got confused. I can’t be held accountable. Also, when I included his cost on my Excel spreadsheet, I noted that he is really pushing the price of the hen party through the roof. And I’d cancel John the Stripper except I’ve grown terribly fond of talking about him to random people. Also, he did send me a text with a “wink” at the end of it, much to boyfriend’s upset. I didn’t add that into my Excel spreadsheet though.

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