A delightful young woman, who I am willing to bet a million pounds was head girl in her own school days, has arranged it. She is so sweet and earnest; it would be downright churlish not to go. However, I have been before and, let me tell you, it did not end well. I’ll wager by now your imagination is racing ahead but before it gets too racy let me confess that the event that is putting the fear of God into me is an innocuous evening of art. It’s at a little cafe which provides pots for customers to paint. You can take your pick, plates, mugs, jugs, bowls, plaques for the wall, you name it and they have it.
Last time I went it was as part of a friend’s hen party celebrations and I was like a lamb to the slaughter. How hard can it be, I thought, selecting a plate on the basis that as it was flat with no nooks and crannies, it would be a simple job? Dear God, how wrong can a person be? I can not do justice to the monstrosity I created as, each time I added to my design; it became more and more grotesque like some hideous Frankenstein’s monster. The truly mortifying part came from the fact that the bride to be wanted to use the occasion to acquire a quirky, original dinner service. It was original alright and I often get a cold shiver picturing the look of bewilderment on some poor guest’s face when their meal is served to them on a plate that looks as though it has been designed by a particularly clumsy four year old.
My lack of artistic talent has always been a sore point, as my entire family are all talented and creative. My brother and sister both paint as does my mother, who is amazing at anything creative from dressmaking to interior design. Everything I touch, on the other hand, turns into an unsightly mess that I can’t even pass off as abstract. I wouldn’t mind but I love art and long to have some sort of creative talent. I think I was scarred for life when, whilst choosing my options at school, the art teacher begged me, with tears in his eyes, not to opt for art. I know now that he was thinking of his potential plummeting results but at the time I was
As if to add insult to injury, after my dad died we all became very solicitous to the feelings of my mother, basically doing anything that she asks in the hope of keeping the emotional cart on the wheels. She has always longed for the kind of thoughtful children she claims her friends have. The kind who would make her presents and cards rather than buying whatever can be found at the local convenience store the night before in a sweaty panic. And so a couple of years ago, she declared that she would only accept homemade greetings cards.
My brother and sister seem to have taken to this like ducks to water; she has even framed a couple of their efforts for posterity. Mine meanwhile are like the misshapen bastard child positioned briefly alongside the beautiful designs of my talented siblings.
Three times a year, birthday, Christmas and mother’s day, I have the ordeal of having to cobble together some ridiculous token effort which my family now know better than to mock. I think the full blown tantrum and refusal to speak for several days pretty much did the trick. See the whole ugly business is like being forced to regress into someone else’s childhood. Someone with some bloody artistic know how.
I am thinking next week, on my night out, I might opt for a mug. Maybe it was the flatness of the plate that actually worked against me, emphasising my shortcomings rather than hiding them in the way a mug might. All I know for certain is that I am going to be consuming a lot of alcohol that night, merely to deaden the pain you understand. Because one thing’s for sure, it won’t be unleashing any latent artistic flair, believe you me, I’ve tried it and there’s nothing there.