The Lady in the Restaurant

Today was a good day. I woke at ridiculous o’clock before contemplating the ceiling of the hotel room for several hours. I skipped the ridiculously over-priced breakfast in the hotel in favor of further contemplation before finally dragging my backside out of bed with perhaps an hour to spare until the arduous journey to the office.

It’s probably worth mentioning that the office front-door is less than 50 yards from the hotel front-door. It takes whole seconds to walk over there.

The day quickly spiraled away from it’s original plan – I ended up running what might usually be a three day training course in one madcap afternoon while the techies watched, yawned, and occasionally showed interest. They all seemed happy at the end – no doubt because I had essentially given them an afternoon off.

So. One day down. Off to the hotel restaurant to eat before the evening hoards arrive. I was shepherded to the same table as last night, but sat on the opposite side, just to change things up. I ordered different food too – beef and merlot pie with mash and vegetables, and a pint of Black Sheep to wash it down – if you were wondering.

While waiting for the food to arrive at my table, I called home. While chattering with each child in turn, it struck me how difficult it is to illicit information from them sometimes. Miss 13 did “not much” today. The highlight of her day was a guide-dog coming to school, but they weren’t allowed to say hello to it, because Mr something-or-other was there. The newly-crowned Miss 12 also reported “not much”, but eventually after much coaxing volunteered that she “did music”. Did she sing? dance? play an instrument? All she would tell me was that it was easy, and she was good at it. Oh – and she is starting tennis lessons at school.

The last time she held a tennis racquet in her hand, two tubes of tennis balls vanished over a nearby fence in the space of five minutes.

Eventually – while talking to my other half – the food arrived at my table, and we said our goodbyes. And then I heard the voice. One of those voices that cuts through a room, through brick walls, and probably through sheet steel too.

I looked up. She was a very large lady, holding court with some long suffering friends at a table a little way down the restaurant from me. Everything she said either came out like a barked instruction, or a statement to a classroom full of children, such that they could all hear every syllable.

While eating, I kept catching the most oddly humorous bits of sentences:

“Yours has got a bigger megapixel number than mine. That’s why your photos are always better than mine – look – in this one he’s not even smiling”

“If he said anything sexual like that to me, I’d tell him where to stick it”

“You need to know how much more you can eat though, don’t you”

I started grinning, and then felt guilty – especially at the last sentence. I could imagine her friends shrinking into their seats in the restaurant as she shouted the comment about somebody saying something apparently sexual. I wanted to look up, but didn’t dare make their situation even worse. Good to know she knew her megapixels from her bits and bobs though.

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