I SAY: It all started when my friend The Mild-Mannered Lawyer handed me the gift of two bottles of wine at school pick-up time. It’s hard not to feel a little self-conscious standing in a school playground with a bottle of wine in each hand and at least half the school community looking on. So the minute Mr Justice turned up, I stashed them away into his school bag – which, of course, half the school community watched me do. Not wanting that same half of the school community to then see make my seven-year-old son carry my wine, I hoicked his bag onto my back and stepped forward with great confidence straight into a slight dip in the pavement, causing me to stagger in a most unseemly fashion, my legs buckling underneath me and my arms swinging wildly.
THEY SAY: The NDM is drunk. Again.
I SAY: The next morning I had one of those school runs where I was still making my kids’ lunches twenty minutes before the bell was due to ring, standing in my bra and only my bra. Somehow, I managed to get the kids through the school gates on time (and yes, I managed to get dressed as well) but I paid the price back at home when my mouth – like some kind of self-inflating life jacket – exploded into a cold sore. And we all know how I feel about cold sores – not least because it means I really shouldn’t drink alcohol until it’s well past its “rapid expansion” phase. Stupid empire-building cold sore.
Later that afternoon I went to see my doctor about – how can I put this delicately? – the protracted case of the blurty bums I’d been having. The doctor’s response was to send me out for blood tests and to take me off dairy for two weeks. Yes, two weeks without butter. I think this was the point where the light in my eyes went completely out.
And so it came to pass that I found myself as a volunteer at a Bunnings sausage sizzle twenty four hours later. With a cold sore the size of the Roman Empire. And a dairy-free dullness to my eyes. And track marks and bruising on my arm from where the nurse had taken thirty litres of blood.
THEY SAY: The NDM is on the junk.
I SAY: It was then that my trousers started falling down. The particular trousers I had chosen that day are strange in that they start off behaving well, lulling me into a false sense of security. But then I think my weight – like so many beans in a bean bag – must redistribute itself and the trousers start to panic. Now, luckily from the front view, my trouser-failure was covered by my apron. But not from the back. And of course, the money tin and the soft drinks were behind me, resulting in many a sausage sale with me awkwardly trying to get the change without turning around, all the while spreading my legs out as wide was I possibly could to stop my trousers from falling the fuck off completely.
THEY SAY: The NDM is on the junk while she’s serving at the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle.
I SAY: At the end of the sausage sizzle, we were in the process of cleaning up when two guys asked us we had any soft drinks left. We did but they had already been packed into the back of The Suburban Diva’s car a few metres away, where I duly led the two gentlemen to make the transaction.
THEY SAY: The NDM is selling bootleg soft drinks from the back of a car in the Bunnings’ car park to fund her junk habit.
I SAY: Of course, as the two gentlemen walked away, I had to seriously re-adjust my trousers again and at that point I realised that A) I was still holding a fistful of latex gloves the sausage-cooks had been wearing that I’d been in the process of throwing away; and that B) from a distance, these latex gloves may or may not have resembled at least thirty used condoms.
THEY SAY: The NDM is turning tricks in the back of a car in the Bunnings’ car park to support her junk habit.
I SAY: It’s not as bad as it looks!
THEY SAY: Sure it isn’t.
I SAY: No, really! I just need some wine, a shit load of butter and a new pair of trousers!
THEY SAY: We really don’t need to know any more details.