05 October 2007

Hold out central


I don’t know if it’s the product of being an insignificant one in a city of millions that has challenged my individuality. But more than ever now I find I’m unable to own experiences, always looking at myself from an outside perspective and thinking, “This could be happening to anyone, anyone at all.”

And for the longest time I guess I’d been feeling like a pair of training-wheels for the novice dater. Someone you can only go so far with before you have to trade up, or out. These are certainties I’m slowly learning to unlearn. It’s difficult to be a good wife and a productive member of society when you’re always disappearing on people.

Anyway, Bruce is expecting an entry on our evening and that’s just what I’m about to do, though there’s a sense of urgency in this office today that’s nearly impossible to ignore, even whilst on lunch and inside my headphones. We’ll give it a try though.

So last evening we met up at Embankment to have a relaxing few hours before the New Pornographers show. We’d already agreed on dinner and a drink but we hadn’t come up with the particulars of what or where. After a while of wandering, we decided on a restaurant chain that’s been very good to us in the past.

La Porchetta is probably best known for its wide, floppy pizzas of various fresh ingredients. Now we know it’s because everything else on their menu sucks.

Just to be different (and costly), I ordered the most expensive dish on the menu, which turned out to be two small fowls covered in tomato sauce and a side of rice swimming in the same. There was nothing particularly wrong with it (other than the fact that I could scarcely scrape off two full mouthfuls from those tiny birds) but it wasn’t dazzling either. And I’m fairly certain they water down their wine, which I sent back in exchange for a pint of beer (which also turned out to be watered down).

But the real kicker was an incident that took place shortly after we’d sat down. We were shown to our table by a host who greeted us with the kind of jovial banter that belied the service training he’d had back in 1955. A few minutes later, a pair of young women walked in and the host turned his attention to them, exclaiming with a flourish, “Table for three!”

The two girls laughed uncertainly and gave him an odd look.

”Why’s that?” one of them asked.

The waiter gazed beatifically at the larger of the two and said, “For the baby!”

And then the horror of the situation dawned as it became perfectly evident that the woman in question was not pregnant.

Gauging by her appearance, I still can’t think of a single reason why one would even make this assumption. She wasn’t disproportionately bigger in the midsection and she wasn’t even particularly overweight. If you make the assertion that somebody you don’t know is pregnant (never do this), you have to be pretty darn sure. And I was pretty darn sure this was the worst prediction in the entire history of mistaken pregnancies.

So the girls hemmed and hawed a bit about whether or not they should even sit down - deciding finally that they’d have their dinner anyway, to the discomfort of us all. The restaurant was now empty save for four of us: two scowling (them), one with a dislocated jaw (me) and one with pop-eyes, his sleeves clamped firmly over his mouth in utter disbelief of what he’d just witnessed (Bruce).

The New Pornographers were fantastic though. It could have been a bit more fantastic had Neko Case been there, but nobody complained. In fact, after crew had disassembled the complicated pipe organ used by a nameless band that sounded like Genesis but looked like they’d just won first place for hydraulics at the high school science fair, the crowd was in such hysterics that a few of them even deigned to make some spastic hand gestures at the stage.

This is how otherwise reticent Brits let loose at a good show – by spazzing out within the narrow confines of their standing room. Some even gathered in a huddle to jump straight up and down in time to the music. But mostly there was the awkward spastic hand gestures, which elicited smirks from a few band members.

Wow, this entry is suddenly way too long; I bet you’ve already forgotten where you are and who I am and if you’d promised to have lunch with your mother.

3 comments:

stuart said...

Ah, it's a common misconception based on confusing diagrams in biology books with reality, but blood is dark red without oxygen in veins and slightly lighter red when oxygenated in arteries (veins are sort of black rather than blue but apparently appear blue due to some optical illusion type thing I don't really understand). When doctors draw blood they take it from veins, anyway, and it is red.

You could have saved the situation at the restaurant by leaping up and saying "I'll be your baby" and then climbed onto the woman's lap. That would have been less awkward.

Stuart said...

I have to admit, the royal family do have blue blood (except the crappy married-in ones like Mrs Wessex and Camilla). Horseshoe crabs have blue blood, although they're not crabs, so I've no idea what colour blood regular crabs have (probably none?). Which means horseshoes are probably members of the royal family.

In conclusion: if it (a) wears a crown or (b) isn't a crab, it probably has blue blood. Mr Spock's blood is of course green. Which is why he's such a big hit with the ladies. QED.

stuart said...

Ick, playing the banjo is becoming trendy for middle-aged journalists. Tim Dowling.