This thread was very nearly a rant, but I cannot be angry at the people involved, both because they are as near as kin to me, nearer in some respects,
and also because they mean no harm. However, deep frustration is involved.
As some of you may know, I am a strange mixture of a very old fashioned man in many respects, as well as being a fellow possessed of a certain
respect for the concept of equality which is considered, although it should not be, the issue of this modern age in which we live. This often places
me in no mans land, when it comes to the issues of the day, and even amongst firm friends, sometimes finds me standing on a principle with very little
company indeed. What follows is a description of just such an event.
This past Saturday, I was out and about with friends in town. Although I am increasingly fond of spending time at friends houses, I am not given,
these days at least, to extended outings to public houses. Between the expense involved, and the total inability of my brain to filter cross noise,
thereby making following conversation inside such a venue nearly impossible, I find being out in the pubs a less than enjoyable time, unless the
circumstances are just right. Midweek is fine, but weekends in an Essex pub are hot, noisy, and utterly valueless to me, save with respect to being
there for a friends birthday or other similarly important function.
However, I find beer gardens or outdoor seating areas much more comfortable. I can sit and smoke, pint in hand, and due to the fact that the space is
open, cross noise is much less of a problem, because it is not reflected back on itself a thousand fold, ruining whatever conversation I might be able
to have with a friend. So it was that I found myself outside a seafront pub on Saturday night, with a fair sized group of friends, casual
acquaintances, and faces which I at least knew in passing. Most of the evening went entirely without any incident or even the slightest memorable
event. Good chat was had by all, fine beers, good times.
As is often the case with such an arrangement, the outdoor seating was divided into two formats. The first format, lined up against the wall of the
front of the pub, were picnic style benches, made of wood. These were placed all along the front wall of the pub, about twelve of them, seating
between four and eight people, depending on their size and familiarity with one another. About a three foot wide gap, running the length of the area,
was designated a thoroughfare, between these picnic benches, and the other seating format, a loose arrangement of aluminium furniture, was separated
from the picnic benches thereby.
Upon one of the picnic benches, were sat two very good friends of mine, part of my regular drinking group, not to mention fellows I would refer to as
brothers if I had no awareness of my genetic construction, or indeed, if I become drunk enough to abandon some element of my scientific reasoning. We
have shared much, they know me as well as a person can know another. I was sat on the table next to theirs, but facing toward their table. Next to me
was a middle aged lady, who I know by way of her being the significant other of the drummer of a local band, whose other members I am also friendly
with. She and her drummer man, were next to one another, but facing the opposite way, toward other friends of theirs on the other side of the table.
As I was conversing with my friends, an attractive young lady approached, and indicated that she would like to sit next to the lady on my left, and I
stood up (because I am a gentleman) and allowed her to do so. It was then that I realised that this must be one of the middle aged ladies three
daughters (and of course, I was correct). Stepping away from the table, I took up a position near enough to my friends to continue to converse.
Unfortunately, as often happens in situations like this, I was also awkwardly in the thoroughfare between the two types of seating, and anyone wanting
to get by was hindered by my girth (not a phrase I use often, I can assure you).
Seeing my plight, and chuckling about it, the young lady who had asked me to move, pulled over a stainless steel chair, plonked it next to her seat
at the picnic bench, and bade me sit in it. A conversation struck up, during which we discovered that aside from seeing each other often across
crowded rooms, we also share a dislike for fascism and the right wing in general, a preference for cooler weather, and so on. We discussed many
things, for about forty five minutes. She spotted a friend of hers, and had to dash through the crowd to see them, leaving her mother and the mothers
drummer boyfriend at the table conversing amongst themselves, and me, sat at the end of this picnic bench on a chair...
I thought to myself "Well... that was pleasant. I genuinely was not expecting such a broad and interesting discussion when I started the evenings
festivities!" And that was literally the end of my thinking on the matter.
My eyes scanned around for familiar faces, and I caught my friends, one nicknamed Villain, the other JJ, looking at me in a very particular way,
eyebrows raised, an expression which they delivered in almost identical fashion, and conveyed both expectation AND disappointment. I should explain
that the proximity of these gentlemen, to the mother of the lady I had been conversationally involved with, was less than two meters, and Villain is
not a quiet man. This will become important soon, so keep it in mind.
I stood up, from without my metal chair, and stepped over to the table where the lads were sitting. Villain had not taken his eyes off me the entire
time since I had caught him looking. He uttered:
"You're ah...you're doing alright there then, eh?"
To which I responded: "Well enough old chap! As you know, I do love a good conversation, and I got one!"
He looked at me like I was mentally deficient for a moment, realised who he was looking at, thought better of that expression, and then selected
"generally bemused" as his expression instead. Then JJ piped up:
"She seems to get on with you well. Seems engaged, willing to connect."
I responded: "Well, clearly! One does not often get that level of discourse from someone who desires nothing more than solitude!" still oblivious
to the intention of these strange, coded messages I was receiving from my friends, since as far as I knew, all that had happened was a perfectly
pleasant chat, a righting of the worlds wrongs, as I would have had with any one of my chums.
Then, Villain said:
"Can you do me a favour tonight?"
Being a wise fellow, I asked: "Well... that depends what it is! Whats on your mind?"
And he did no more, less than two meters from the young ladies mother, than say "Would you do me a favour, and take that girl home tonight and..."