Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Hands Off, My Friend
One must endure a number of tedious adult-type gatherings as maturity sets in. But none saps the life out of oneself quite like the Annual Accountant's Dinner. This is the one where your financial advisor (very loose term) gathers together you and the other blind faithful for a celebration of how he (or she) has managed to persuade the taxman, on your behalf, that you are a struggling writer/lawyer/doctor/taxidermist and that all concessions should be called in to assist you in your pursuit of bettering the profession.
Meanwhile, your financial advisor has just placed his order for the new Porsche 911 from the Frankfurt Motor Show, and you are still wondering whether you could hang on to that 13-year-old Toyota RAV4 for one more year before it goes to God.
But I digress. This is not a venue for rancour, this is a venue for sizzling social observation and the Annual Accountant's Dinner provides just such an opportunity.
Like a wedding, a dinner such as this does not simply fall together. Hours of preparation go into details, details, darling. Guest lists, venues, menus, speeches and most importantly (and mostly explosively) the seating plan. Seating Plan and the term laissez faire are not happy bedfellows. Consequently, I am endlessly intrigued by whom I am seated with at such gatherings of the acolytes.
Okay, so it was a predominantly medical crowd this particular evening but, wedged between two psychiatrists who specialise in treating child sex offenders, the alarm bells began ringing. Quietly, in my own private Idaho, I was mulling over Foucault's famous declaration that madness was silenced by reason. Foucault quite clearly was deluded.
As I pressed down my baked celeriac and beetroot with Jerusalem artichoke mousse it dawned on me how freaking bizarre this whole arc of comrades was.
As the night rollicked along, the conversations became increasingly absurd until I was convinced Federico Fellini would leap out from behind a curtain at any moment.
Unhappily, he never appeared, but this didn't stifle the steady stream of weirdness, which culminated in this:
My husband, who I unashamedly class as quite a handsome number, was being chatted up right in front of me by one of these kooky head-shrinkers. The gall! The flirting was wanton, the body language outrageous and the squirm factor (from the husband) rated an eleven. And the most intriguing element of the home-wrecker's gambit was that he was a HE, a dude, a guy, an XY chromosome. The husband was being chatted up by a MAN.
As I said, the Accountant's Dinner is an exercise in social observation, and I was loving every minute of it. However, the silvery beads were appearing on the husband's brow and by the third shin-mauling I succumbed and realised I had to break him out. We bid our adieus, but not before the lush prised a business card from the husband and promised to be in touch.
And he was a man of his word. That night at 11pm, home-wrecker tapped out a little late-night note from his i-Phone just for the husband. "What a great night. I'd really like to get to know you better. Let's keep in touch."
As I left the husband to measure his reply I reminisced on the words of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland and thought that perhaps he could be my financial advisor. "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be,” said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here."