Wednesday, August 19, 2009

May I Orate Your Meal For You?

For my birthday last week Karen took me out for a fabulous lunch time meal at the Leamington branch of Café Rouge.

We’ve been to Café Rouge a number of times and for a restaurant chain they’re pretty damned good. Decent food, decent atmosphere and decent service. I’ve got no complaints.

But it’s a pity they don’t vet their clientele a little more.

We’d just despatched the starter when a young couple sat down at the table behind us. Graduate types. Young go-getters that type of thing.

The woman was fine. Softly spoken, quite sensible and socially sensitive from what I could hear. So quite what she was doing with Mr Soapbox Hooray Henry I don’t know.

He had one of those voices that could be used to drive ailing ships away from hidden coastal reefs. Imagine a rutting gnu that can enunciate in clear Home Counties English and you’re pretty much there.

Couple this natural propensity for volume with a youthfully inaccurate belief that everything – and I mean everything – he had to say had to be heard by everyone else within a 5 mile radius and you can imagine how the delicately romantic conversation that was taking place between me and Mrs Bloggertropolis was constantly peppered with the blunderbuss protestations from Mr Everybody Listen To Me.

“Oh ya, my last girlfriend, she just wanted too much from me, you know? Too much emotional stuff. The sex was great but I had to let her go... only thing I could do... I sometimes miss her but not much...”

“Ya, I’ve just come back from Africa... got off with a lovely girl there... blonde... very blonde, not a local girl... all my girlfriends are blonde in fact... I only ever go for blondes... white and blonde...”

“And the groom was like: I’d never known what love was until I met my wife and I was like, Oh God, this is atrociously wet, let’s hope the best man’s speech is better and then he stood up and was all like: ya, I’d never seen true love before until I saw these two together... and it was like awful, worse wedding ever, thank God for the free booze!”

A real charmer right? As it was he’d already blown his chances of getting into his female’s friend’s knickers in the first few seconds of their conversation with this absolutely classic opener:

“You’re looking really well – have you recently lost weight?”

By the end of the meal, his gargantuan sound bites had become the unasked for entertainment for a number of tables in our part of the restaurant and many a mirthful look was exchanged between complete strangers and ourselves as we masticated our dauphinoise potatoes.

He, however, was in complete ignorance. Which amazed me. How could he not realize how loud he was being? I’d be mortified if I thought I was being that boorish. I’m sure we’ve all done the youthful thing of recounting a joke or an anecdote a little too loudly in the mistaken belief that it’s comedy gold and a passing television producer might be in the vicinity who will want to push television stardom our way... but to roar an entire conversation?

Is there such a thing as the Town Crier gene?

Would I have been totally out or order if I’d performed an emergency tracheotomy with a fish fork?

Shout your answers to me from wherever you are; the Poulet Suprême au Roquefort is far too quiet for my taste.


25 comments:

KayDee said...

Well doesn't he sound like a complete prat? If I'd been his date *shudder* I would have had to leave.

I wonder what drives people like that? Attention seeking?...... certainly, an inflated ego?.....absolutely, no bloody class or manners?....give the girl a cigar.

I'm sorry that baboon ruined your romantic lunch and on such an important occasion too.

EmmaK said...

The fish fork would have been too kind as he might have lived - I would have strangled him with my leather belt - takes no more than 30 secs and no one would have heard because he would have kept talking throughout.

Tenon_Saw said...

Perhaps he is one of those who has loud mobile phone conversations on trains.

Steve said...

KayDee: it was initially annoying but then proved to be rather amusing. Everybody else was in on the joke apart from the buffoon in question. Still, it was hardly Moonlight Sonata...

Emma: when I get round to gathering a team of superheroes to maintain world order you will be my right arm woman.

Tenon_Saw: given the volume of his voice I doubt very much that he has to use a mobile phone to hold conversations over large distances...

Nota Bene said...

Always good to be entertained for free. Now have I ever mentioned about all my old girlfriends....

The Sagittarian said...

I reckon if you'd siddled up to him and told him you were at THAT wedding it might have shut him up faster than your fork, which would have been a good 2nd option since EmmaK probably would have need a bit of time to get there to assist! :-) Gawd, perhaps he was related to that butcher guy from Corrie Street! It s a funny old world innit! I SAID, IT'S A FUNNY OL' WORLD, INNIT!

Steve said...

Nota Bene: a mere mention is not enough. To be truly fashionable these days one must shout it all from the rooftops.

Amanda: this guy may well one day morph into Reg Holdsworth and that would be truly scary... "did I tell yer about my last girlfriend? I say, did I tell yer about my last girlfriend... it were about 25 years ago..."

KAZ said...

Ah yes - we all recognise the nightmare of Mr Soapbox Hooray Henry. I usually try to stare them out from across the room - if that fails I pull faces.

Steve said...

Kaz: I tend to look like a psychopath if I stare at people.

Hmm. Maybe I can use that to my advantage...

A Write Blog said...

I'd have let him carry on. Quite entertaining.

I find that there are a fair few people like that; middle class tto, in many cases.

The worst are the ones with the kids who behave like brats. They'll say things very loudly but with no intonation or action to back it up and expect a child to have adult reactions.

'Tarquin, please stop eating doggy poo. You know it's not good for you.' Said loudly with no anger or physical intervention!

Tarquin is usually about three and has no sense of restraint- he's never been taught it - and you just know that his parents will have the biggest four-track parked in the carpark.

Steve said...

AWB: I suspect that Mr Soapbox Hoorah Henry was a Tarquin who'd "matured" into a fully grown adult version of that particular genus. He might not have been eating doggy poo but he was certainly talking it...!

Owen said...

Some of the advice provided on your post a while back there about the scary dog in the neighborhood might apply here ? A dusting of strychnine or even better botulism serum on his plate once a suitable distraction had been created ?

So it wasn't a case of an ugly American tourist ?!?

How awful people can be such boorish brutes... maybe you could have asked the restaurant management to put up a partition around their table ?

Lucy Fishwife said...

Ah yes I know the kind well. They often come into the bookshop which, while not a library, is nonetheless not a disco either - calm rather than quiet I'd say - and wander around yelling terribly indiscreet things at each other. People are strange.

Steve said...

Owen: a brickwall might have been more effective... or just another restaurant entirely. Thinking about it... another town might have been best. Just to have been on the safe side...!

Lucy: the most unfortunate thing about people - especially the strange ones - is that they are everywhere. Sometimes it's a mistake to leave the house in the morning.

French Fancy said...

Victoria Wood has said she's got most of her material from overhead conversations - maybe you could incorporate him in your future book

Steve said...

FF: I may keep him in mind for the sitcom... :-)

Clippy Mat said...

can't understand why she sat there listening to the fool.
hopefully it was their first and LAST date.
hope it didn't spoil your lunch too much tho'. :-)

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: to be honest, I'm amazed he didn't leave the restaurant wearing his food...

Suburbia said...

Though I appreciate it was not a great birthday experience for you, it has made a very good blog post!

Revel in the fact that you were (trying) to have a lovely romantic meal for two and he is unlikely to *ever* have that pleasure :)

Belated Happy Birthday by the way.

Rol said...

She obviously wasn't too smart, unless it was a blind date, or she was planning to murder him later on that night.

Quick - check the obituaries!

Steve said...

Suburbia: very good point! :-)

Rol: she will have gone up inesteemably in my estimation should your conjecture prove to be true.

Löst Jimmy said...

Steve - Although I read your post of the dinner bore with some humour I am also acutely aware of how annoying people like that can be. In fact I'd go as far to say that such types 'acting up' in public are cringeworthingly toe-curling leaving the listener hoping he would choke on a napkin...

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: indeed. Especially if the napkin was wrapped around my fist.

Good to see you here, by the way - hope you'll return.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Sounds like a colleague I once had at the bank where I worked.

Every Monday morning he would loudly demand of every female under 30 'Well, did you SCORE at the weekend?'

Turned out he was a 22 year old who still lived with his STRICTLY RELIGIOUS parents and was in every likelihood still a virgin!

Steve said...

Laura: I can't in any shape or form of imagination place this man as the child of religious parents - over indulgent parents yes. I think a touch of Methodism would have done him good. I've never encountered a more materialistic and un-spiritual person in my life.