I had an evening out with Suzy tonight - a good way to end the week. We ate at a regular haunt of ours, Frankie & Benny's. We love the music and the food's pretty good, but we can never remember the name quickly enough (I blame Ben & Jerry's), so it gets re-christened every time we mention it to one another. Jenny and Dingo was for some reason the last combination of names that tripped off my tongue more readily than Ben & Jerry's Frankie & Benny's.
I arrived at the restaurant first and was given one of the booths, where I waited for Suzy with my Coke-with-no-ice-please that had ice in it. Last time I'd arrived before Suzy at this restaurant the waiter had gone for comic effect and seated me at a table for four slap bang in the middle of the restaurant, directly under a low-hanging lamp. There I waited, apparently for my interrogation, while Suzy meanwhile was driving around the car park outside under the mistaken impression that I'd have the manners to wait for her outside. This time she knew to come inside and saw me pretty quickly as I waved to her from our booth. I hope I didn't look like too much of an idiot waving. There's something about me and putting my hands in the air, it always comes off as way too pompous. There was the time I stopped a car as a hedgehog was crossing the road (to get to the other side) and then just recently I caught a bus at a request stop and came far too close to saluting an invisible Führer in making sure I'd caught the driver's attention.
Our burgers turned up before Suzy arrived and when the waiter brought them to the table he checked that Suzy hadn't arrived and offered to put the food under the heat lamp. "Actually, can I have mine?" I asked, conscious that we were sailing close to the wind that was the cinema timetable and that I'm a slower eater. Except that the music playing in the restaurant was evidently at a frequency that mingled with my words and transformed them into "if you don't mind" and both plates of food were whisked away and not one waiter came near me again until Suzy came in the door.
Magically we finished our burgers in just enough time to get to the cinema, get two of the last tickets for "The Help" and find our seats in the dark as the trailers started. The only seats left were in the premiere seats, which is possibly just a way that the cinema likes to have its fun with people. You're late, so you must pay more for this seat which is slightly wider. Now go and scrabble at it in the dark auditorium while we laugh at you from the projection room because those seats don't need unfolding, sucker, they're already flat. I had been told by Mum that I had to read "The Help" before seeing it at the cinema, so I was in the little secret club of people tittering as soon as Hilly's pie was presented. I think without a doubt the book should be on your reading list - before or after seeing the film - as I think there's so much more to pick up from the book on the political and social environment of the time. Truly frightening stuff and it's still so difficult to conceive of such situations and mentalities being real and not just the content of a book or film.
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