Love in the time of Vodka

2 November 2007

It was shortly after I’d formulated a new plan to ensnare my latest object of desire that it struck. So far, fate had favoured me. His plans for the weekend had fallen through, leaving a big open space for me to sidle on in. I’d even recruited my mother to assist with the scheme. Then, two days before “Operation London” was set for take-off, I sneezed. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the end of my love life.

Within hours I had morphed into a duvet-wearing snufflemonster, trailing the fairly pungent ‘aroma of strepsil’. (To be frank it doesn’t take much to make me exchange proper clothes for a duvet at the best of times, but this was taking it to new heights.) A search through my handbag would unearth embarrassing quantities of scrunched up tissues and empty pill packets. My face was puffy and sallow, and my body seemed to have forgotten all notions of posture, or even that it ever had a waist. I even bought new pyjamas instead of doing laundry, having relinquished all other items of clothing.

There was no compensatory husky throatiness to win ‘em over for me, just a rather nasal note which made me sound (not in a good way, if there is a good way?) like one of the characters from Winnie the Pooh. I have enough trouble trying to produce an attractive, non-hee-hawing laugh at the best of times, but it really is the pits when a giggle turns into a gurgle which in turn becomes a spasm which sounds like a grumpy alien trying to force its way out of my lungs. Yep, super-shmexy.

I was doomed. There was no way anyone in possession of their senses or faculties was going to come anywhere near me. Rapid consumption of industrial quantities of jaffa cakes followed – for the vitamin C, obviously. By Friday night, desperation had driven me to my last resort: the vodka treatment. As they say, kill or cure. Remarkably, I at once began to feel much much better. Clearly, the Russians know what they’re doing drinking vodka all winter. The morning rolled around and my joy at having self-healed was complete. ‘The years I’ve been wasting being ill when I could’ve been drinking vodka!’ I thought happily, ‘I’ll never feel sick again!’

This last was proved oh-so-very-wrong within about five minutes. Turned out vodka wasn’t cure, it was most definitely kill. What’s more, gazing blearily about me, a nasty feeling began to niggle at my brain. Hazy memories of being somewhere I shouldn’t have been, with someone I shouldn’t have seen, these seeped in as my life-force flooded out and as I nervously checked for evidence, my suspicions were confirmed. Ah yes, there they were – half last night’s clothes still stuffed in my handbag.

This is the fatal influence of the flu. Too ill to pursue my true object, but nevertheless in dire and urgent need of a hug, my poorly self had wandered drunkenly, perhaps even deliriously… into old and perilous territory.

Needless to say, I never made it to London. In fact I rarely make it anywhere these days, resembling as I still do a pneumonia-riddled guinea pig – fat, squeaky and sick. I guess I’ll never know if my vodka-fuelled nocturnal misadventures of that Friday made me worse, but one thing’s for sure – I must get better, and sharpish. Because “Operation London: Take 2” is coming up this weekend, and this time it’s make or break…

There is one note of consolation here. Share a kiss, share a cold, as old wives should have said. Just earlier, I heard a certain someone echo a familiar cough of mine. I’ve begun to feel better already.