10 March, 2006

my Lifestyle Consultant

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about her! My Lifestyle Consultant, yes you read correctly. Would you believe I don't even
know her name? She was merely introduced to me with the above title, by some chick from Grosvenor Estates, our faceless landlord, yesterday in the midst of all the chaos. Doorbell rings, I trip over various plumbing items and narrowly miss knocking down the art installer walking with screws in his mouth, and there, on my doorstep, are two very dressed-up English ladies, one with a little cardy buttoned up over her little Peter Pan blouse and the other all muffled in one of those coats with the furry trim all around the collar and straight down to the hem. "Is this a bad time?" the Grosvenor lady asked, and I almost burst out laughing. Seeing as how I probably smelled bad from no hot water for a week, and had been out in the rain about twelve times and looked like a wet dog, not to mention the absolute mess the entire flat was in... "No! Of course not, come right in."

"Well, Mrs Curran, we are here merely to offer our Invitation To An Easier Life," Furry Lady said, and her words virtually hung in the air like a conversation balloon; to punctuate her speech she held out a little cream-colored booklet bound with a green ribbon bow and bearing those very words, along with "Be Inspired To Make the Most of Our Service." "I suppose to get our conversation started, I should ask you what pops into your head when you read this booklet, what little item, however insignificant, presents itself as something that would truly enhance your life, Mrs Curran?" "Well, you could start with heat. Or hot water, either one," I said, and they wilted visibly. So the Grosvenor Gady went off to solve all my plumbing problems from her
desk, while Concierge Lady and I sat on the sofa in the living room surrounded by all Mark's paraphernalia, and I tried to think of ways to Enhance My Life through a concierge service. Did you know that expert assistance with all aspects of life is only a phone call away? They are willing to "tailor a bespoke service" around me and my household. All this without hot water! Amazing. They can arrange to have beautiful flowers delivered to your home weekly, find a regular (not an irregular, by any means) dog walker, and "source a coach for your golf swing, your tennis strokes, or your yoga poses." But my personal favorite has to be their earnest offer to "ensure the fridge is stocked when you return to London after a weekend away." Now
that's service. How about the liquor cupboard? That's what I really needed yesterday, a nice stiff shot of aquavit and a jump in the snow.

Night nannies! Personal shoppers! They'll book a massage for your visiting mother-in-law! And the testimonials in the little booklet. "Who would have thought that I would order my car like a pizza: a single phone call, a look at the options you sent, and a few days later the car is delivered, fully insured and ready to go. How much easier can life get?"

I racked my brains trying to think up stuff to get them to do. Aside from informing them that "source" is not, has never been, and will never be, a VERB.

I do think I might take her up on the offer to get somebody to go
shopping with me for something to wear to John's boss's upcoming dinner party for twelve of his closest underlings. Actually I have no idea who else is going. All I know is his assistant emailed me a really warm and fuzzy query about food allergies, and I said, "Tongue." But I do have to find something to wear, and all the stores
scare me. Concierge Lady assures me that I don't look anywhere near 51 and it shouldn't be hard to find something suitable, so maybe me and my shadow will mosey on over to Fenwick's on Bond Street next week and pick up a little number. And when I get home I expect a full fridge.

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