Life Design Action: PLUNGING.
Does not involve toilets. Or sinks. Or Wonder Bras.
Does involve courage, deep breathing and mild insane pro-activity.
(Highly effective for habitual procrastinatiors, dreamers who want to make their Thing happen or people who get bored of listening to themselves burbling on about the same old shit).
The Burberry Plunge
Mid November, I could no longer handle collecting opinions on whether I should buy the vomit- inducingly-expensive Burberry Coat or not.
So I Plunged.
Travelled to London and arrived at the Fosbury Goddess’. Implored her to ring the Covent Garden Burberry shop to check The Coat was still there. Proceeded to hide in bathroom, in a state of nail-biting emergency.
Seconds later, heard the Fos talking. She launched into a chocolate smooth conversation with the Burberry employee (name = James = uttered in the husky, dulcit tones of a mildly aroused Bond girl.)
Fos suggested to James that our arrival be treated with level of top-end gushy schmooze reserved for royalty. And we would be requiring freebies. Belts and purses would be satisfactory. What do you say, James? Yes? You’ll make us up a goodie bag? Why thank you. And you have four of the desired Burberry jackets? Wonderful.
Intrigued as to whether James would deliver on his promise of customer care, we headed to Central London.
“What do you think James will be like?” Fos asked me, as we softened our nerves with a quick Mojito.
Sipped drink. “Very thin, not that tall, black hair with gel. What do you think?”
“Very tall. Student. Bieber hair cut. Are you nervous?”
Left the bar and plunged into Burberry shop. James was mid height. Very thin. Student-like with Bieber brown haircut. Was kind and gentle, though … like he sensed I was a Burberry Virgin. Sat back on poofy poof seats and waited for ten agonising seconds. Eventually James emerged from a mirrored room. Four coats were draped over his arm.
“They are the wrong coats,” I uttered.
James’ mouth, stomach and – I suspect – his bowels, dropped. He whipped out his ipad and spun through the products. “I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. Which one is it?”
James dashed off, returning moments later with an ashen face. “I’ve checked our database. There is only one coat like this left in the UK. It’s in our Bond Street shop. You’ll have to hurry.”
“Thanks James!” Fos shouted over her shoulder as we went. “Tell them we’re on our way! Oh – what about our goodie bag?”
“They’ll give you the goodie bag,” James called after us urgently. “Good luck!”
Gay, I thought. Or a drama student. Perhaps both. Speculative thoughts about James’ sexuality moved to one side as the sheets of rain hit my face and the reality of no Shearling Aviator hit me.
It was a long, wet, cold, dark, fast strided walk that we took to Bond Street. Stopped briefly in the Regent Street shop to double check that James hadn’t been mistaken. He hadn’t. Bond Street it was. Eventually arrived at the gleaming, palatial hive of Burberry headquarters.
As we climbed the steps, I noticed that my nerves had been anesthetized, burnt off by the biting wind, sleet and head pounding adrenaline. Marched up to a hovering Burberry Beauty. There was a time (pre Mojito) that this shop assistant would have made me shrink into my jacket.
Now I was a woman on a mission. I explained that we’d come for the Shearling Aviator.
Burberry Beauty looked at me blankly. “It isn’t here. Our Covent Garden shop stocks the Brit range.”
“No, this can’t be right. James said it was here.”
Burberry Beauty frowned. She politely led myself and Fos to some comfortable chairs, then proceeded to pacify us with complimentary champagne. She disappeared, then returned, shaking her head sadly.
“I’m so sorry …”
I hadn’t anticipated this. I hadn’t anticipated not even trying ON the Aviator!
Necked my drink and stared at the Fosbury Goddess. She pressed her lips together and suggested to Burberry Beauty that more champagne might help sooth our disappointment. She added that we would be needing to make a complaint.
Shortly after the second batch of champagne arrived, so did the Bond Street Burberry manager. He sailed in, Harrods posh, the Al Pacino of retail vogue. He took one look down his nose at us, then launched into a bizarre pompous waffle.
He waffled about this. And he waffled about that. He blamed his staff. He blamed his website. He waffled so many excuses that eventually I couldn’t cope with his waffling any more.
“I’m not really interested in how bad your company is. However, I am interested in an apology,” I interrupted.
Al Pacino spluttered to a halt. “I was getting to that. I was just talking, thinking it through whilst … considering Options.”
“Options?” I sipped my flute, letting the bubbles fizz across the roof of my mouth whilst crossing one leg over the other. “I’m interested in Options. Let’s talk about Options.”
Al Pacino narrowed his eyes. He leaned close.
“Okay. I have a plan.”
It turned out that all along, James had been right. There WAS one Shearling Aviator jacket left in the country and it WAS right here in the Bond Street shop. However, this jacket had been specially reserved for a very, VERY important, high powered client.
“There is,” Al Pacino explained delicately, “a teensy-weensy leetle chance that I could contact our Paris store and see whether they have a jacket in stock there which could be sent through.”
My eyes widened with the promise of possibility and for a moment I let down my guard. Luckily I caught myself in time. Sat up straight. Emanated arrogant cool.
“Presumably that means you can then ring your very important client and ask them if they’d be prepared to wait a few days so I can purchase this one?” My demeanour of cold, calculating snot-bitch didn’t match my tatty nails. Or the coat I was wearing. Which was from New Look. But that didn’t matter. Turns out in life, it is snot-bitch self assurance that the retail Grand Poo-Bahs respond most effectively to.
Al Pacino headed off to schmooze his v.v.v.important client. Burberry Beauty fuelled us with champagne. She had a call on her walkie talkie and headed off.
“What d’ya think?” whispered the Fosbury Goddess.
Snot-bitch self melted into Hindu-Virgin-Hankering-To-Meet-Future-Jacket/Husband self.
“I think that whatever happens, it’s meant to be,” I whispered back.
What happened next was like a film.
From behind a pillar to my left sailed Al Pacino. He was grinning like a Cheshire Cat and massaging his palms. From a pillar to our right swanned Burberry Beauty, holding …
She Who Must Be Obeyed.
Bewitched, I could barely hear Al telling me that the client had agreed to The Deal. My eyes were fixed on the Shearling as Burberry Beauty brought it closer.
“You are in luck!” she cried rejoicingly.
“I think I need a moment alone with it,” I choked.
I took the Shearling Aviator and carried it carefully into the changing room. Once inside I paused. For a moment or two I could do nothing but stroke the fabric. Around the collar was mahogany coloured faux fur. As my finger tips brushed it, I couldn’t help thinking that the fur felt like the furry beard of this lion toy I’d once bought at my primary school jumble sale for 50p.
A flicker of something (disappointment?) flared up in my head. I ignored it. Here I was – alone – at long last – with my dream coat. A symbol of independence, self expression, personal empowerment and freedom.
I took the plunge.
Whipped it off the hanger.
Put it on.
Fastening it at the front, my eyelids lifted. Through a web of eyelashes, I met the reflection of me and the Burberry Jacket in the mirror.
It looked shit.
I turned around.
It still looked shit.
“Fosbury! Come here!” I yelled. “What do you reckon?”
Fosbury pulled a face like she’d just smelt a really bad fart. “Not convinced.”
“I feel like I’m wearing a cardboard box,” I frowned. “A badly designed cardboard box.”
I did a few more swirls and turns and looks from behind. I tried my best to at least like it – if I couldn’t love it.
It was no good.
I hated it.
“How do you feel?” Fos asked me as we waved goodbye to the Burberry Beauty.
I shrugged. “I’m actually very relieved. I think I can let go now.”
“Good,” sighed my lovely lass-in-crime. She gave me a little squeeze and we headed out in to the wild, black, blustery night.
Key Point: Plunging doesn’t always lead to a mission/project being successful. It does, however, lead to completion so you can change the record and get on with more important stuff. Oh – and it makes for an interesting adventure.