Monday, 3 February 2014

How to make enemies and alienate people

Last Friday my girlfriend and I went to a rather nice bar in the shadow of the Shard, by London Bridge station. What a building that Shard is, by the way - you can't walk past the bottom of the thing without craning your neck to catch a glimpse of its full height. It seems to go up and up into the very clouds themselves, and often literally does if they're low-lying. A wonder of modern construction.

Anyway, it being a Friday, and the first payday for many since just before Christmas (myself included – six weeks between paydays!), the place was perhaps not surprisingly absolutely packed. We were lucky to find a small table, recently vacated, and sat down to have ourselves a few cocktails, which my missus had assured me were of the very highest quality in this establishment.

So I went to the bar, which ran the length of the large room itself, and found an unoccupied spot right on the corner from where to try to catch the barman's eye. There were people sitting drinking at the bar, including two young women sharing a bottle of wine, one of whom I'd had to stand very close to in order to get to the bar in the first place. They therefore heard my exchange with the barman all too clearly.

"What can I get you?" he asked, taking my order for the first couple of cocktails (and a bit of grub, just to civilise the occasion further you understand).
"Where are you sitting?"

At this, I turned to make space so he could see my girlfriend, and pointed at her. She sat at the table, concentrating on an email or some-such on her mobile.

"The lady with the mobile?"

It's at this moment that I opened my gob and instantly and indelibly placed myself onto the two ladies' hate lists.

"I'm afraid so, yes," I answered, meaning 'I'm afraid so, she's using that wretched mobile thingy'. Two female heads whipped round and gave me what can only be described as the skunk eye, clearly interpreting my comment rather differently. One can only imagine what scenarios they had in mind – a blind date in which I was less than pleased with the lady's appearance, perhaps. A git of a boyfriend who'd rather be partying with people other than his own partner. Or simply a wretch, not good enough for the good lady at whom he'd been pointing. Who knows what they thought?

I did not hang about to find out. (It was the phone, ladies – honest. The phone!) I had no desire to get whatever they were drinking thrown over me with some force, so hurried back to the table. At this point I realised that there was every chance one or both of them could conceivably come over and tell my girlfriend exactly what they thought of her 'date', so I told her what had happened pretty damn quickly.

She, fortunately, saw the funny side and thankfully no such thing happened. Indeed I can confirm that the cocktails were indeed of the very highest order and a fine evening was enjoyed by both of us. I can only hope that either of those women, through some act of cosmic serendipity, stumble across this entry and realise that I'm not quite the heel, the cad, the thorough bastard I must have sounded at that precise moment.