May 17, 2009
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After just sneaking under Cineworld Trocadero's cut-off point for cheap afternoon tickets to see In The Loop on Friday, m'companion in the Arts and I found the only place we could tolerate being in for more than five minutes was The Maple Leaf bar in Covent Garden. And since it takes more than five minutes to drink a beer, The Maple Leaf it was. We'd claimed a table with the consummate skill of women in need of seats and were happily oblivious to most things. Including the bloke who'd asked if he could sit at one of the spare seats on our table. Yeah, whatever mate, knock yourself out.
An unremembered amount of time later he asked if he could borrow one of our phones; he'd just flown in from the States, you see, and for some reason this stupid American iPhone wasn't connecting to his British friend's cell. M'companion in the Arts has an iPhone with a free calls package and handed it over, because she has more compassion than I do. We were slightly peturbed when the guy then threw what looked like an Oystercard holder on the table and walked out the door, but on investigation (apparently I have no shame) it turned out to be the driving licence of one Dr Paul Friga and about $200 in cash. Oh, right, security.
You know when you just want to catch up with a friend? When you threw on a random t-shirt and cardigan that morning, and haven't washed your hair for slightly longer than it requires to get completely manky? And you've sidestepped the fact that you're in central London, the location's incidental, you just happened to be here and the last thing you want is some management guru from North Carolina trying to ingratiate himself into your evening? He bought a round of drinks to say thank-you for the use of the iPhone, which m'companion in the Arts and I made nervy rohypnol jokes about while he was at the bar; but, like, dude. We're very sorry if you're alone in London and your friend isn't around, but how about bonding with the weird journalist you brought over to the table instead; yes, yes I really do have to be going (never have I been so grateful for feline diabetes) and no, m'companion is not of the mind to go dancing with you tonight. Shouldn't you be on the phone to your wife or something?
After refusing another drink we actually legged it while he was elsewhere. We've probably given him a terrible impression of English people now but I don't care; we'll give offence in exchange for creepy and uncomfortable. Sounds like a fair deal. In fact, we were so creeped and uncomfortable that we had to head into a place that sold pizza and alcohol to scrub the incident away. And possibly, the internet being what it is, the next time he exhorts someone in a bar to Google him, this post might just pop up.