Monday, April 17, 2006

I arrived and sat down on a large and comfy looking sofa. It was not as comfortable as it looked. Those tumescent leather looking 4-seaters they have in bars are rarely as comfortable as they look. I looked at my watch; it was only 7:30; that meant I was half an hour early. Slouching back I glanced about me warily, trying to affect a cool nonchalant mien. By backside and a large part of my back sank smoothly into the morassic swelling on which I had chosen to sit. Immediately regretting it, I sat bolt upright. Remember your posture William, I said to myself, just relax upright – yes, that’s right, its almost as comfy as anything else – just relax upright. Nodding slightly at my inner dictum ordinance I forgot myself for a few moments and gazed emptily at the glass coffee table in front of me.

A barmaid laughed loudly nearby and I was brought back to myself. Uneasy again, I checked her face to see if she had been laughing at me. Of course not, I scolded myself inside, you were hardly doing anything strange, now just get settled and relax… UPRIGHT!
Ok… ok, I replied, beginning to wish that my mind were a little more unified in its discourses.
But a discourse is an exchange, I corrected myself, not a soliloquy… and even a soliloquy is a species of exchange since it has an audience.
Yes ok, ok! I’m happy to talk to myself, I replied, but at least lets call it… lets call it… I don’t know… an introspective monologue?
Ok, lets.
So where were we?
Don’t you mean “Where am I?”
Yes I suppose I do, but you know what I mean, what was I saying?
I think I was just trying to relax and avoid attracting attention while I wait for my friends on this corpulent settee in this meretricious excuse for a drinking establishment.
I should write that down.
Yes I should.

Again, I found I was nodding to myself pensively. Another laugh from the same barmaid brought me to my senses. I surveyed my surroundings properly now, having finally achieved something resembling that calm nonchalance that has never come easily to me. The bar was sparsely populated; there were a few groups of the usual mid-twenties rich looking Dulwhich types scattered about the room, either half swallowed in puffy sofas or sitting round tables. Most of them had bottles of wine and, in between dainty sips, were smiling or giggling at each other. Most of them were female and wore polka dot dresses or small stripy sweaters and tiny slipper-shoes. They’re all very fashionable, I said to myself, deciding whether to leave it at that – an observation – or make some judgments. I can never just observe, I thought, only the completely insentient can truly escape judgement: What a load of tripe I began, these people are disgustingly vapid – horrifically vacuous…

It was a favourite diversion of mine to sit somewhere silently admonishing those around me – innocent members of public – for being pitifully and hatefully boring, for depriving themselves of personal flair, for acting in a that empty affable way that ensured not only that no one was ever offended by you but also that you repressed any nuance or interesting facet of your character. I would sit there basking in the warm agony of my own hatred, all the while confident that I was completely blameless of all the vile sins that I thrust upon those about me. This pursuit served me well, the time was passing and I was merry, until I realised the barmaid glancing at me questioningly. At first I was baffled as to why she might be throwing her eyebrows up in my direction, but I soon realised that I was violating a veritable pub commandment: thou must always buy a drink.

I checked my watch again and it was now only five to eight. My friends would be here soon enough, I might as well purchase some alcoholic poison in advance – it was inevitable that I would indulge sooner or later, why not sooner?
“I’ll have a Grolsch please” I half-shouted over to the lonely barmaid, climbing out of the cocoon that I had allowed to engulf me and walking over to the bar.
“That’s £2.80 please,” she said placing my pint on the bar in front of me.
As I handed her a fiver she leaned forward slightly and said “I hope you aren’t being stood up… you’ve been sitting there waiting for ages”.
“I hope I’m not being stood up” I laughed, “But I can’t be sure yet, I was very early you see.”
“Ah” she said “sorry, I get nosey when there’s no one to serve, I get so bored I take risks”
“That’s ok,” I said, feeling compelled and intrigued by her spiritedness, “the truth is, I am always much too early.”
“Well its much better than being late” she gave me a beautiful smile and I stared a her a little to long without saying anything. Her smile faltered and she looked away, she looked down the bar, as if hoping that there was someone else to serve. Realising my mistake, I picked up my pint and walked back to my seat, thanking her again as I left.
Wandering over to my seat I looked up to see my friend Henry walking towards me. I sat we sat down at the same time and he smiled and said “hello” with raised eyebrows. I was just about to reply with some ‘catch-up pleasantry’ or other when our nascent conversation was interrupted by… [I’m stuck, anyone any ideas?]

2 comments:

dylan said...

... a wail from the other side of the room. The sound was so inhuman I had trouble discerning its origin for a moment, piecing the scene together seconds after it had happened. As soon as I had dertermined that a) the sound was human, and b) the sound was directed at my friend, a comeley if somewhat too fashionable woman had her arms wrapped around a very uncomfortable Henry and was slathering him with gentle pecks.

"Henriii!" She had screamed, deliberately mispronouncing my good friend's name with a french twang.

"Henri, Henri, Henri," she repeated in between pecks at my befuddled friend's face.

This was not good. This woman, this harpy, whoever she was, presented the danger of seriously ruining not only my evening, but potentially my livelihood. It may sound coarse, but friends are livelihood, too, when you're starving and rely on them to buy your unwanted works so that you're not forced to eat your brushes and paints.

Does that help?

Toks said...

no what really interrupted them was...
... a frantic beaver that crawled out of Henry's left ear. Granted it was a bit of a squeez but Henry had always been known for his spacious ear ducts. Apparently the beaver (also known as uncle Loui) had caught his wife in bed with the new sprite from down the road. he urgently needed blunt metal object but all he could find was some soft orange gooey stuff that seemed to seep out of the walls.

At that moment Mitzfa, Randy and Gershy walked in, they were already 8 minutes late so they wasted no time in deciding who to get the first official round in. everyone was aquainted with uncle Louis so all introductions were moot.

i sat back in my most defiant manner, three and half pints had hastily slithered down my slowly browning throat and i wasnt going to listen to
"UPRIGHT! damn you, cant you do anything right"
now I am a god, i can relax in any stlye i see fit...

(I suggest the rest of the story features several purple ducks, a weasel just for the fun of it and a very hansome man)