Here's how it happens.
You start with the best of intentions. Christmas- with all its excesses- has been and gone, you've had all the wassail of New Year... That's why I always insist on a 'dry January'. I like the discipline of it. I don't do it for health, or for losing weight, or even for smugness. I live an indulgent enough life- it's good to exert a bit of will power, even if only for a month.
The problem is, wagon day. The day that the first drink happens. After a month, it tends to hit one like a juggernaut. I am rather, perversely, proud of the tolerance for alcohol I've built up over my 37 years. Every Feb 1st, though, I become a mewling, drunk-on-one-pint heap. Every Feb 1st, I do something stupid.
This year's is a doozy. Other Feb 1st achievements have included retaking-up-smoking after a month's easy abstinence (and, as a result, finding myself painfully wedgied on a London street), groping- and, alas, I mean groping a dear friend on a crowded tube train, and... well. Too many to mention.
This year's, though, is a doozy. I think it was the successful achievement of my tax return- submitted yesterday, pre-back-off-the-wagon, which led me into this mess. 'I've submitted my tax return' went my thoughts. Because my thoughts are evil, they continued with 'I've been good about money. I should spend some money'.
A couple of years ago, some lovely friends of mine responded to my craving for New York by buying me some Virgin Atlantic vouchers. That way, I could book a flight whenever I found myself at a loose end; I was free to plan my holiday around my availability.
I have a small amount of available income at the moment (well, I don't any more, as you're about to see). Because it's Feb 1- wagon day- I thought it would be a great idea to do for myself what my pals did for me, so I bought myself some Virgin vouchers. That's still just about acceptable- I can more or less afford a wee break in New York, and it's probably a good idea to buy the flight now, so I can use it to cheer myself up when I'm a little skinter. So, I did. I bought some Virgin vouchers, to use at, literally, my leisure. Wow... have I actually been sensible? Have I used my Feb 1 blurriness to do something reckless but wise, brave in its impulsiveness?
Well, no. Not so much. It didn't stop there. I went on to choose a weekend, and buy a ticket for the Met opera and for a Broadway show. I went through all the pages and pages and pages of online booking for both. It was only when they were both safely purchased that I realised I had, in my off-the-wagon giddiness, booked my New York theatre and opera tickets for a weekend when I absolutely, totally, unequivocally have to be in London. Maybe the most important weekend of my whole entire year.
So what I guess I'm saying is- does anyone want to see Orfeo ed Euridice at the Met on 29 April? Or How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying on May 1? Because I need to sell my tickets.
What I'm also saying is that I should probably stay away from my laptop on wagon day. Sigh.