Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Fruitless Precaution

The conversations that I overhear in Costa Coffee never cease to amaze me. Take today for example. I sat opposite the members of a young rock band who were shouting at their manager about the deep rifts that seemed to be developing within their group. The lead singer was apparently a lazy four letter word beginning with c, who wouldn’t know a good riff if it slapped him in his lazy gob. Simultaneously, I was aware of a middle-aged woman behind me who seemed to be having a session with her shrink. She went for an incredibly long swim in Lake Indulgence and emerged, she said, feeling like she’d had a mini-breakthrough. I almost applauded. An hour or so later, a young girl to my right spent what seemed an eternity talking about her “ex-BFF”. She’d frozen her out of every social networking site on the planet because BFF had invited her to a fancy film premier and then changed her mind. Her monologue, which was like something from a Beckett play, proved comprehensively that her ex-best-friend-forever had had an incredibly lucky escape!

I also managed to tune into the most horrendous work-appraisal meeting. A young, rather surly-looking girl was literally being hauled across the coals. I wasn’t altogether sure what was meant by the phrase “you’ve got to work WITH me, not AT me...” but I don’t think she was in line for a promotion. The girl seemed to be taking the insults on the chin, but suddenly burst into floods of tears when her boss informed her that she was “impossible to work with, especially in the mornings.” It was good that she felt she could be so specific. If the girl was taking anything in, (and she wasn’t) she’d be able to go away with the knowledge that she needed to eat a larger breakfast, thereby making herself, well, possible to work with. But it didn’t stop there. She was then accused of having an incredibly messy “in-box”, which seemed to be the last straw, because the girl, still weeping, yelled without a hint of irony; “I can’t help it if someone’s been fiddling with my box”. Cue everyone in the cafe looking up from their newspapers and a few gasps from an elderly Jewish lady. I guess it would have been inappropriate for her boss to have laughed and said “more tea, vicar?” I don’t think I’d have been able to stop myself. But then again, I wouldn’t have been washing my dirty linen in public. Silly tart.

I did a full day’s work in the cafe and now smell like a weird blend of chocolate, coffee and toasted sandwiches. Fiona is back in town and came up the hill to see me, bringing tales of her life on the road. Apparently South America was somewhat disappointing as the band she’s in were playing cities which she described as the equivalent of doing Coventry, Birmingham and Stoke On Trent. Eek. I hope at least the weather was warm...

Does anyone think I look like this chap? It’s from the publicity for the film 4 Lions, and when I saw the picture, I wondered if perhaps I’d been pap’d hiding underneath a blanket whilst waiting for the men in white coats to arrive.

May 12th 1660, and the fleet was finally sailing on the open seas. The ships made speedy progress across the channel, and at one point were equidistant between Dover and Calais, Pepys commenting how pleasing it was to be able to see both places at the same time. I assume the fleet then headed North, for Pepys noted that the further they went; “the further we lost sight of both lands”.

Later in the day, over a game of cards, he was told an “admirable” story, called The Fruitless Precaution (which sounds like the Beckett play the girl in the cafe was performing.) Pepys thought the story “exceeding pretty” and swore to memorise it if he could get his hands on a copy of the book from whence it came.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Benj, this is a man in the most ludicrous upside-down-clown costume I've ever seen. Saw the movie tonight. He looks nothing like you xx