Introducing Betsy Messerschmitt
Sunday 11th October 2009. New York. Day off.
It's official. I am never drinking again. I must have been insane to go out on the piss last night given the amount of things we've got going on at present, but somehow it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it was enormous fun. And we're leaving New York. Fair enough then.
I'd arranged to have lunch in Central Park with a friend and her long haired dachshund, so crawled out of bed, found some dark glasses and hiked up seventh avenue. It was a beautiful afternoon but distinctly autumnal, with leaves falling and the sunshine feeling a little diluted.
We found our way to the Ballfields Cafe, where we ate, chatted and caught up. For reasons I can't quite recall (probably just sore-headed rambling) I told my friend about some random society magazine I'd been leafing through on the plane a day or two ago. It was full of those awful pictures of people at parties, taken with flash after a few glasses of wine so everyone looks red and shiny. I'd been amused by some of the names in the captions. It's quaint how, in that world, families with very formal double-barrelled names still give each other these charmingly goofy pet names like Muffy, Bundle, or Pongo. There were a couple of great ones but the one that really tickled me was 'Betsy Messerschmitt' (for non-European readers, the 'Messerschmitt' was the definitive World War II German fighter plane, hence the incongruous juxtaposition). I thought what a wonderful drag name that would make and filed it away in case I should ever decide on a radical mid-life career-change (though, if truth be told, I already have my drag name ready to go - I think 'Tawdry Hepburn' would make a glorious moniker, but I digress...)
After lunch we walked some more, enjoying the day and taking in the sights of Central Park, not least the disco roller skate area with its remarkable cast of characters, straight out of Boogie Nights. Further on we came to an area that had engraved, hexagonal tiles embedded in the pathway, commemorating people who had sponsored the planting of trees in the park. On each tile was the name of the person and the kind of tree that they had donated or paid for. It was interesting, so we looked around for a few minutes. There must be a hundred or more tiles there, so imagine my great astonishment when I spotted a tile commemorating none other than... Betsy Messerschmitt! It was a wonderfully odd co-incidence given I had invoked her marvellous name less than an hour previously. I can't help feeling that we're now destined to meet. Or perhaps we shouldn't.
Back at the Hotel Fabulous I consigned myself to my room to do my receipts. I've been putting this off for months as it's SUCH a dull thing to do (it's like doing homework) but there's money in it when you get them reimbursed and I was too hung over to do anything else anyway. I got stuck into it and was a little taken aback to find I had receipts from as far back as Poland, but I got through it. Whilst I was at it I also did my V.A.T. return (it's a UK tax thing and I can't believe I'm writing this down). I was done by midnight and with the elation of those who have made it to the finishing line I went back to bed. I'd been looking forward to that moment all day...