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.