4 Apr 2013

Unlikely Friendship

I've struck an unlikely friendship with a retired lady neighbour of my parents. Her name is Janine and she is old enough to be my mum. Since living at my parents, I would occasionally bump into her in the street, we would say "Hello" and exchange the odd nicety, nothing less, nothing more. Her and I were poles apart.

Then back in September of last year, we got chatting in the street quite randomly. We poured our hearts out to each other about our lives as islanders and I found out how lonely and bored she feels here... Janine is from the city, independent, well-off, sophisticated, ultra-feminine and more acquainted with designer labels than plant tags. You get the picture: she is no country girl. She also happens to be married to a retired intrepid adventurer who made a living in the oil industry, from Scotland to Cameroon, from Mexico to Gabon, and it was her husband's idea (not hers!) to retire on the island, so he could indulge in boating, fishing, hunting and other earthly "pleasures"...

So far from the London buzz...

Recently Janine and I stumbled across each other again and we struck that unlikely friendship. It started off with a walk down the resort followed by a hot chocolate at the local café. But soon enough we agreed upon the fact that this sedate lifestyle was getting too much for us, and we needed to spice it up! Since then we have jumped in her VW Polo and taken to the roads less travelled of Corsica - at our peril, set that adrenaline rushing to the temples as we found out that quirky narrow mountain road abruptly turned into a piste and we had no other option than do a U turn in a tight portion of dirt track, wedged between a cliff face and a ravine.

We've ditched the sedate café for the trendy bar with deep carpets, lamé surfaces, dark corners, risqué beaux and fashionista waitresses, swaying gently to that pre-party ambient groove à la Ministry of Sound, clinked Champagne glasses, laughed dizzily and indulged in a glimpse of the lifestyle of the Housewives from Bravo! I can still picture Janine raising a perfect eyebrow from above her D&G glasses and pouting: "You have no idea how solo dining in a restaurant is soooo not fun!" And we exchanged that knowing look as high-profile culinary escapades are to be next on our list!

The Mercedes E-Class Coupé

Oh, I'm liking it. And I'm liking it much more than my bank manager as this burgeoning friendship promises to be high maintenance and a potential threat to my overdraft. But it takes my mind off my mundane preoccupations, and makes me indulge in a more shallow part of my personality. Janine and I have already planned to hit the top-end tourist hotspots when the weather hots up.

As she readjusted her designer clutch in the trendy bar, pensively admiring her French manicure, she leant towards me and casually added: "And for the occasion, we'll make sure that we hit the promenade in my other car, the coupé convertible". Talk about getting noticed in style! In preparation, maybe I should start giving Net-à-Porter a bit more of the attention it deserves... and worry about the cash later! Ahh, life is a breeze - a seabreeze even!

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