susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

An Internet Date

What do you expect from an invitation to lunch at the Botanic Gardens? Idyllic setting? Slightly nouvelle cuisine-ish? (Wikipedia calls this fresh foods, attractive presentation...) Do I put on strappy floral dress and green suede heeled sandals? (strolling shoes in bag) We're to meet at the restaurant.

So - I get to the entrance, slightly hot and bothered, because I took the newtome car, parked, and then couldn't find the entrance - I'm a bit late. Ah. £3 entrance fee. Now, I'm not mean - well, I am with myself - but not if it's my treat to someone else... A slight stirring of awareness - no wonder he invited me to meet him at the restaurant. Which is way way way over there btw, says the feekeeper. Hmm. I find the shop and ask where the restaurant is. Round the corner, I'm told. I'm pointed to an ominous 'Refreshments' sign... and bump my way through a selection of coach trip parties on the narrow pathway.... and see a long queue - QUEUE! - in front of a counter... and peer inside a canteen-style open building - nope - and then I'm waved at by my 'date', who continues his everlasting phone call while I find a seat, sit down, arrange my frock, cross, uncross, cross my legs, look around at the littleoldlady coach parties (ooops nearly there meself!), read War and Peace, read Encyclopedia Britannica (full sized version), gaze skyward, sigh, perk up - it gives me something to write about! So, when he finally gets off the phone, I can actually summon up a smile of greeting. Now, I'm not the tallest flower in the garden, but in heels I have this astounding first of actually towering over someone. At last! I can literally talk down to someone. I'm not heightist, but I am fed up.

We talk. No, he talks, but please don't ask me on what subjects - it just goes on and on. He has to leave fairly soon. Oh dear. He tells me about the menu. Sandwiches. Or a baguette. Oh, there is home-made soup. It is home-made, I'm assured. At which I assure him I do believe the mangy scrawl on the blackboard. By this time, we're queueing lengthily with the blue rinses (god let me go bald first) - and I'm now, crossly, searching the blackboard for the most expensive item.... ploughman's lunch £3.50 complete with pickled onion .... I'm entertained with a story about a neighbour who has started up a website for celibate couples..... I cannot stop laughing - certainly was entertaining, but perhaps not for the reason he ever imagines.

And then it's our turn. The baguettes look as if they died and were entombed with the Egyptian pharaohs. The sandwiches are cheese, tuna, bacon 'n' turkey. In those triangular seethrough plastic boxes. Like those in service stations and garages.... and called 'gourmet' .... In a faux-innocent wide-eyed voice, I wonder whether the tuna is fresh or (slight moue) tinned - that's for cats, isn't it? I choose bacon 'n' turkey and say firmly I'm going to have TWO drinks. Oh, that's non-alcoholic drinks of course - what else? A mug (10p extra) of coffee and a mug of herb tea. We have to go to a filthy - and I mean disgustingly filthy - table for milk, a stick stirrer, an overflowing pile of old used teabags and crunching sugar. I feel like crying over the spilt milk.

Back at the table, I'm so hungry - and not a fussy feeder - so overfrizzled bacon bits and tasteless Bernard Matthews-type turkey slices vanish quite quickly. Should have had the tuna, which my date has, and tells me about the black pepper - I look suitably fascinated.

He tells me he's seeing a rude play tomorrow night - apparently, the language is a trifle 'warm', and says he should have asked me to go with him - if he'd thought. And therein lies the problem - he obviously never thinks beyond himself... I look disappointed and tell him I'm busy on Friday - I'm going away for chilled champagne, chocolate and all the shagging a girl can deal with. I don't say these things aloud. Should I have? A problem with being gently-reared...

And then he has to go - to Luton to see some greetings card companies. I restrain a yawn and a bored look. Mwah, mwah. He says we must go somewhere together next week. I think my diary has rapidly filled up.

Am I unutterably spoilt? Am I demanding? I'd say no to both of those - but if I invite someone out or round for a meal, I'll pay for them. And it'll be a decent meal somewhere decent, not a packet of sandwiches. Might as well go to the garage, after all....


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