Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dinner with George

I’ve always said to my children that once my memory goes they have my full permission to smother me with a pillow. I hadn’t expected to be so forgetful quite so soon.

I was having lunch with someone I didn’t know well enough to ask them to hold on a minute while I wrote down word for word what they had just said that was so hilarious. I made a mental note to remember what had me weeping with laughter into my corn chowder as soon as the lunch was over, so I could use it in a future article or book. I prefer to think of it as homage rather than plagiarism or theft.

When I got to my car and fumbled for a scrap of paper, I’d be damned if I could recall what was so funny. We could spend hours debating whether the fact that I can’t remember and there is no record of it means that it was never said at all, in the same way that one can wonder if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does that mean it didn’t make a sound? But we don’t have the time.

To ensure I am never again responsible for such an enormous loss to humor, I have resolved to always carry a notebook and to shamelessly insist that all acquaintances, friends and family members repeat anything remotely amusing they might say or do in my presence, even if it means interrupting their flow.

Luckily, husband Colin can always be relied on to remember everything he says that might be construed as interesting or witty, so I don’t feel pressured to make notes as we go along.

As I was reading the newspaper, I said to him: “What can be done about all the ignorance and apathy in the world?”

He replied: “I don’t know and I don’t care.” I know he was trying to be funny because he laughed heartily, as he does whenever he says something he thinks is clever or jokey.

“I’ve told you before that genuinely witty people don’t laugh at their own gags. What was that other funny thing you said the other day?”

Quick as a flash, he said: “I do.” And he didn’t laugh.

Poor Colin. Ever since he learned that I was going out to dinner with my fantasy boyfriend, George Clooney, he’s been feeling terribly vulnerable.

See how I just slipped that into the conversation? It’s not as cozy and romantic as it sounds. There’ll be at least 500 other people there, but it still counts as having dinner with Gorgeous George.

My chum, Sheran, has invited me to go as her Plus One to a PEN (Poets, Editors and Novelists) event honoring George for his screenwriting skills on Good Night, and Good Luck.

Sheran knows his co-writer, Grant Heslov, and is convinced she can get me introduced to George when she says hello to Grant who, one can assume, will be seated next to the world's sexiest writing partner.

I’ve tried to explain to Colin that George prefers his women half my age and at least four sizes smaller so he shouldn’t worry, but he’s certain George will fall for me and sweep me off my feet.

Colin watched me suspiciously as I slathered Veet hair removal cream over my legs in preparation for my date. “You don’t go to this trouble for me,” he said.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “I do my legs once a fortnight, whether they need it or not.”

“You might want to do something about the nasal hair while you’re at it.” Harsh. But true. Getting older is no fun at all.

At least Colin, or George, hadn’t seen me plucking the witchy hair out of my chin only moments earlier. That’s three this week. That’s practically a beard.

It didn’t say otherwise on the tube, so I liberally dabbed Veet up my hooter with a cotton bud.

I felt guilty as I drove to The Beverly Hills Hotel because I had the car cleaned, only in case George followed me out at the end of the evening to get my number and I didn’t want him to see I had a filthy car. It’s bad enough that it’s a PT Cruiser, not a sexy Porsche.

I have more guilt to get off my chest. Not only did I buy a new dress for my date with George (red, so I’ll stick out in the crowd), I lasted half a day on a 10-day master cleanse to get me in peak shape. If I’d known about the lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper cleanse before I married Colin I would have tried it then and slimmed down for my husband before the wedding. Honest I would.

I should have put my glasses on to read the ingredients, as then I’d have known that it’s an eighth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and not a half. I may give it another go in the New Year. If Beyonce can do it for two weeks to lose weight for Dreamgirls, then surely I can last two days.

I checked I had my notebook in my handbag, in case George said anything worth writing down when I met him (like his phone number) and sashayed into the banqueting hall. I searched the room as nonchalantly as I could. No sign of George.

Blimey, writers are a scruffy bunch. I found Sheran and we took our seats in the magnificent dining room. There’s no easy way to say this, but I can confirm that assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups. Note to self: just because you get given an award doesn’t mean you have to show up collect it. I had been stood up. George was a no-show. Well, not exactly a no-show, as I’m sure he got an assistant to send his apologies to the organizers while he was busy saving the world in China.

It’s taken me seven years in LA to get even this close to a date with George. At this rate, I’ll be 70 before it finally happens.

I sat through about 15 awards and couldn’t face the remaining 25, as my nose kept running and people were looking at me suspiciously like I was a coke addict, so I made an early exit. Another note to self: don't use Veet to remove nasal hair, it makes your nose run uncontrollably. I got home in time for Colin and I to snuggle up together on the sofa and watch re-runs of Frasier. That’s true love right there. Who needs George Clooney? Apart from the refugees in Darfur.