crap pub sandwich

A professionally challenging week ended last Friday with another personal challenge, as if designed by God to halt my tedious moaning.

Sometimes this happens and it’s like somebody is actually saying, “there you go then, twat.  Cease your boring whining and make something of this.”  And I predictably falter.  Today, having not eaten a proper meal for a couple of days and only skimped on rubbish food between times, I decided to treat myself to a late pub lunch.  My stomach has been doing that gripey, empty, complaining thing and I wanted to satisfy it with hearty gastro food.

Studying the menu at the bar, I balked at the prices and merely opted for a steak sandwich and chips.  It took a long time to arrive, and as the sheepish barman made a sharp exit, what was presented to me explained why.  The steak had been forgotten.  It lay on a bed of passable salad, on top of a pathetically thin slither of dry white bread.  Soggy brown chips underneath.  It wasn’t a triumph.  You often don’t get served the best cuts when dining alone.  Perhaps it’s widely known that sad single folk lack the will to complain.  Particularly slightly defeated, younger looking ones.  It worked again and I didn’t.

When I’d sat down another solo eater had been sat there finishing soup, reading a newspaper.  After a time he’d left and his replacement was surprising.  An attractive young blonde girl who looked for all the world like she’d be waiting for someone, but wasn’t.  She’d also ordered soup and sat there unavoidably in my eyeline attached to her mobile phone.

Shrill screaming toddlers pierced what would have been an otherwise pleasant Friday afternoon pub scenario.  They ran amok like it was a nursery, their guardians largely unconcerned.  I’d waited twenty minutes to be served my simple and not very nice meal, she waited ten for a hearty looking soup with thick crusty bread.

As the waiter left her, our glances finally crossed and we weakly exchanged smiles.  My sandwich was still dry and crap.  “Any good?” I bravely chanced after a few minutes.

“Mmm,” she replied, amiably enough, well spoken as you might expect from a pretty young blonde Putney-ite, “it is.”
“What is it?” I said, wanting to prolong conversation of some sort.
She described what it was.
“I’m jealous, mine was horrible.”
“What was it?” she politely returned, and I told her.
“Steak sandwich?  Well it’s your own fault, you shouldn’t have steak somewhere like this.”
I wasn’t sure exactly why, it was a reasonable enough pub, notwithstanding the wailing children.
“No, I agreed,” as if understanding completely, “schoolboy error really.”
She slurped soup, I snapped a bit of stiff bread.
This was the point when I could have moved the subject off food, something more general.  But confidence in my ability to do this without appearing predatory, weird, intrusive or just creepy always fails me.
So instead we sat in silence, listening to the wailing infants.
I raised my eyebrows in her direction when one speeding sprog veered towards our corner, then away.
“Peaceful here isn’t it?”
“Oh, bliss,” she agreed.
Escalate, move on.  So what brings you here…?  What do you do?  Do you want a drink?  Can I join you?  No, no, no.
We studied our mobile phones, then after a few minutes I finished my food, loaded my bag with book and my jacket pockets with devices.
“See you,” I said.
“Bye,” she said.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: