For the first eighteen months or so of my relationship with The Special One, I became an expert at sleeping in two sessions. Given that we were on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and she would often be working until well into the night, our first opportunity to speak might not come until 11pm in New York, which was 4am in the UK. Being the perfect partner that I so clearly am (ahem), I was willing to go to sleep for a few hours, be woken by the phone at ungodly o’clock, and then put my head down for another three hours or so of kip when we were done talking.
Though I was generally pretty good at it, there would obviously be occasions when I wouldn’t get back to sleep at all, and as a result I’d turn up at work the next morning looking like a cross between Bernard Madoff and Widow Twankey. Sometimes (particular after one too many port and lemons), I’d sleep blissfully through the repeated phone calls from The Special One, happily snoozing as my beloved tried to get in touch. Coincidentally, the amount of alcohol necessary to reach that point was enough to create a hangover the next morning that made me look like a cross between, well, Bernard Madoff and Widow Twankey.
The key – when I actually managed to be awake enough to take the calls – was always ensuring that the two sessions of sleep were roughly similar in length. The closer the phonecall came to the time that I was due to be getting up anyway, the less likely it was that I’d get a good night’s sleep. And as a result, the periods when there were only four hours time difference between New York and London – as we’re experiencing at the moment – were always like manna from heaven.
Time is, of course, a key difference between life in the US and life in the UK. For example, we’ve finally reached the point here in New York where it’s still joyfully light outside as people leave work (unless you’re a lawyer working late, but there’s probably not many of those left these days unless playing Solitaire has become a billable event). But as the year wears on, I know I’ll become wistful for the days of sitting in sunny and light London pub gardens until 10 or so at night.
More pertinently right now, it’s Mother’s Day in the UK on Sunday, and given that there are still six weeks or until it happens over here in America, it is pretty damn impossible to get a card to send to your mum. Last year I think I crossed out the word ‘birthday’ on a card intended to wish someone many happy returns, and this year I’ve opted for a nice view of New York. But it’s hardly the best way to tell your mum that you love her, let’s face it.
Fear not though, I think I’ve come up with the perfect solution.
Mum, if you’re reading this, can you buy maybe three or four Mother’s Day cards from the shops this weekend, and then post them to me so that I can send them back to you each year from here on in?
Pick some nice ones, though – I don’t want you thinking I’m cheap.