Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ravings of a Truly Horrible Bastard
Not all that long ago, I went out to dinner with one of my best friends, his boyfriend, some mutual friends, and a couple of colleagues of my best friend's boyfriend. One of them was English, so he was rather impolitely ignored. The other was Canadian ... and he didn't even bother to introduce himself to me. Apparently, because I was from Sydney, it didn't matter what I thought. About anything. Which is just as well, because the heady mix of pre-party cocktails and an assortment of party-starters had (fortuitously or not) all managed to kick-in as I was waiting for one of the more hapless poofs to order the entreés. And unbeknownst to the rest of the table, I had turned into a Truly Horrible Bastard (THB).
I have to admit that I am a really formidable THB. It's not a role I play very often these days, but when 'he' is on, then it is either truly horrendous or truly entertaining. Everyone else really has no choice but to make their selection regarding how they feel about it.
The problem started upon our arrival. The table that had been reserved for us was too small. There were now to be nine, as opposed to six. Our girlfriend - let's call her Suzy - had announced that she was bringing two friends - both, like her, Personal Trainers. We were, it would appear, about to be graced by three (as opposed to one) world class physiques. "Perfect!" I thought (or maybe said) to myself ... "there's not much else to perve at around this humble, too-little table of ours!"
I had spent a small part of Thursday evening with Suzy. Our friend, and her soul mate - let's call him Shane - has slipped into the depths of an Ice addiction. I have always admired the way that elephants go off to die. Noble. Elegant. Respectful. Drug addicts, on the other hand, seem to think that they have some pre-ordained right to fuck up as many people in as many circumstances as they possibly can ... as if their tragic hopelessness was some kind of busking routine in a busy, busy shopping centre. But the money's usually taken out of your wallet when you're not looking, as opposed to gifted in grateful and meaningful ways. I hadn't seen Suzy for a long time, and I was astonished at her powers of denial. "Shane was still a good person underneath." If I was an Ice addict, I'd want Suzy to be my soul mate. Everything I suggested she had already done. Three or more times. She is still holding out her hand to be bitten, punched and stolen from. It's a masterful betrayal of good common sense. But, perhaps quite perversely, she's absolutely right to hope. Shane is a divine creature ... and like any abusive relationship, as bad as it is is as good as it is. I had a relationship with an alcoholic once. I know. One minute you're ducking their fists in public and the next you're the greatest, most meaningful and significant person in the entire world. Extremes of affection and intimacy present difficult and complex boundaries ... and we ignore them at our peril. But we do ignore them ... hoping that, eventually 'the bad' will pass and there will be 'the good'.
Back in the restaurant, I snatch the menu from the hands of one of my unsuspecting dinner companions and beckon the waitress. I order the entreés for the table (once an Event Manager, always an Event Manager) and banish her to the kitchen. In the meantime, someone who doesn't know the first thing about wine chooses to order the wine. Which arrives. Corked. Fucking hideously corked ... like cat's piss. I ask for it to be taken away and another bottle brought to the table. Which happens. And again ... corked. Suzy is almost beyond hysterical! She's been at the table for nearly twenty minutes and hasn't yet had a sip of wine! I rest my hand on her jack-hammering, table-thumping arm and ask to see The Wine List. Apparently, the person who had ordered the wine in the first place is the reason we are going to be saddled with the cost of the second bottle of wine. Sadly, for them, THB is not having any of it.
THB: "I can tell you now that that's not going to happen. This is the worst wine I have ever tasted, ever, anywhere ..."
" ... in the world!" Suzy pipes in.
THB: "Please can you bring us a bottle of this ... a glass of which I will try. If it is to my liking, you will pour glasses for the rest of the table ... "
SUZY: "Starting with me!"
THB: "Can you do that?"
The wine waiter shuffles off to the bar. Seconds later we are joined at the table by The Manager. Now 'Managers' of any variety are always interesting sparring parties for me when I am in THB mode. Just because they hold a position of "manage"ment, doesn't mean they should. One of the reasons I have never been able to consider working for a company other than my own is that there are some truly hopeless people masquerading as Managers out there ... and I have met more than my fair share of them (and worked with, and for, more than a couple). And on the subject of shit-house wine, THB is immovable ... and needless to say, we finally had the opportunity to enjoy a large number of bottles of much nicer wine.
As we staggered out of the restaurant and off to a nightclub, I couldn't help but imagine how grateful the staff of this particular restaurant were to see the back of us. Which is fine ... because I won't be going back there. After all, life is hard enough without having to drink bad wine OR having to justify why it is that you shouldn't be expected to pay for it.
See? Seven years in Sydney did teach me something!