Brinnnnnng, Brinnnnnnnnng, Briiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnng!!!!!!
Deep down in the dark recesses of my mind, one synapse has segued into another. The message has been passed on that. Somewhere. In. the. Distance. A. Phone. Is. Ringing.
It is 8.50am on a Saturday morning. I have neither the strength nor the inclination to hot foot it across the bedroom, quite less down the stairs and across the hall to answer the dog and bone. Who has the temerity to ring the home phone these days anyway? I turn over and go back to sleep. Time seems to pass.
Jing Jing Jing Jing Jing Jee Jing Jee Jing Jing Jing Jing Jee JING JING JING
Does this neatly illustrate the obnoxious ring tone of my un-turned-off-from-last night mobile that is now bleating next to my bed?
Jing Jing Jing Jing Jee Jing Jee Jing Jing Jing Jing. It goes on.
For anyone that read last week’s technological f**k up post, you might remember that I am a hideous lightweight of the highest order. Three pints of lager in a smoky bar on a Friday night and we are looking at a crummy Saturday morning. It’s pathetic. I know.
I feel highly inarticulate at the best of times first thing, but right now I am hanging by a thread.
Jing Jing Jing Jing Jee Jing Jee Jing Jing JING JING JING!!
I have no idea why. Call it intuition, call it stupidity but I pick up the phone and answer it.
‘Good morning, this is Father Michael Macdonald from St Andrew’s Church in Paddington’.
Now I really have to stop and think. Although several thoughts are going through my head at once, one of which is, could this be the Michael Macdonald, you know, of seventies super-group, The Doobie Brothers, the man who also sang on one of my favourite records of all time, Steely Dan’s Aja……?
Or is it that I am getting married, and I have forgotten about it and this is the vicar calling to make the arrangements?
Or does this just neatly encapsulate the extent of my relationship to the chuch? Not that I have a problem with religion. I find it fascinating; it’s just that church-going is not a part of my daily, or even my yearly life.
‘I am returning your message of yesterday’, he continues, ‘you mentioned something about a project that you are working on’?
Another synapse crackles into life. Ah haaaaaa. Now this is beginning to make sense. I did call a vicar yesterday. I did indeed. I called a vicar because I wanted to see if he knew anyone who had waited to have sex for the very first time until they got married. Which led me to chuch. Of course.
Which all made perfect sense to me yesterday when I made the call and now on this bleak Saturday morning, my head stuck in fourth gear somewhere out near the mental equivalent of Byfleet, it makes no sense at all. Why did I do that? Why did I set myself up to have to ask a vicar if any of his congregation want to talk to me about how they lost their virginity?
At times like this I question what I am doing.
But only fleetingly, because I also want to grab the opportunity to tell this person what it is that I am trying to achieve. That I am trying to build a picture of life in Britain today, as told through the stories of our virginity loss, because our stories reflect who we are, culturally, historically, socially. That everybody has a different perspective to offer, each as important as the next and that by contributing, he is adding to the picture, a picture that ultimately, people of all ages will benefit from. Because these stories run the gamut. They are funny, they are sad, they are erotic, they are prosaic, they are unbelievable, they are important. They are the everyday. They are happening every day and they are us. They are a fundamental part of the human experience.
I leap from the bed to close my bedroom door. I don’t want anyone to hear me flail as I attempt to communicate this.
Remarkably though, I somehow ease my way into my patter. I move into the flow that must communicate something, because time and again, people surprise me and say, yes, ok, I will talk to you.
Father Michael, or longhaired dude from the seventies as I now like to think of him, pauses as I finish.
‘Ah, yes. I see now why you couldn’t quite fit the purpose of your call into your message.’
‘That sounds interesting. Sure, yes. I will ask around my congregation and see if we can’t find you someone to talk to.’
Rock on Father.