Dear reader, another late-in-the-week post, I’m afraid, but I assure you you’re not to blame. By way of an apology, please find below the first part of a completely new story, written specifically for the blog, and therefore for you. Part two is HERE NOW!
I hope that this takes considerably less time to read than it did to type it. I’m still getting used to typing with one hand; that’s the problem. Anyway – let’s begin:
I suppose, in the end, it all comes back to having what they call an addictive personality. It wasn’t a problem for me as a nurse: we spend so much time assisting with operations and looking after whatever lumps of flesh survive them that we don’t have time to develop a gambling problem or something like that.
Plenty of us would drink, but often that tended just to put us to sleep, and only very few became alcoholics, and then only the type that suffered from insomnia without a few glasses of wine of an evening, and not the type that used to come into the hospital yellow and doomed.
Smoking, that was another one, but even with the best will in the world, you can’t manage more than twenty a day on our schedule, and – more to the point – those things are far too expensive for a nurse in an NHS hospital. In any case, I avoided drink and cigarettes, drugs…everything, really.
Because, as I have already mentioned, I have an addictive personality.
We don’t need to discuss it, it’s already clear, and I’ve been this way since childhood; it can’t be helped. I only mention it now because it has some bearing upon what I am about to tell you. You should also know that I gave up being a nurse 20 years ago – an excellent move, and one that, even now, I can’t bring myself to regret.
You see, no matter how much one avoids temptations, there is one thing that we must all do to survive – most of us three times a day – and that was my downfall. I could also blame my childhood of crazy scribblings and the love of my supportive – but sadly deceased – parents for the way things have turned out, but I suppose that wouldn’t be fair. It was my choice, after all, to start that blog, and it was my choice to accept the offer of that magazine.
I suppose, technically, it was also my choice to accept that culinary critique award, but come on: who would refuse the top prize in their profession? Especially one such as me, who had worked bloody hard to get it? No, you go to the dinner, you wear a dress and a big stupid grin, and you take the award.
And then you take the invitations.
My God, there were such a lot of invitations, and no wonder: all it took was a few favourable sentences from me, and a restaurant could double its earnings. All the top chefs, all the top restaurants; flights; cruises; the best hotels; so many people paid so much money to bring me to their establishments, and to shamelessly spoil me. There are those restaurant critics who fly under the radar, receiving a taste of the average diner’s experience. I am not one of those critics.
Looking back on it now, I suppose I feel the same kind of nostalgia a crack addict feels when they think back to when they first used to get high – bitter, and full of resentment for their younger self. If you’re wondering why this isn’t prize-winning prose, by the way, you can blame that resentment.
My muse is dead.