The most difficult thing about the social internet - that nobody really talks about - is when you really like somebody else - what they think, what they write, what they share - and they never acknowledge your existence.
I signed out of the far flung building I occupied the 5th floor of at 6pm this evening and trudged back to my temporary residence through the puddles brought about by overnight rain. After negotiating a seemingly never-ending sequence of road-crossings, I made it back to my hotel, checked in, threw off my clothes, and debated where I might get something to eat.
I had all the intentions in the world of walking around the corner to the local pizza restaurant and ordering something the size of a garbage can lid. As I approached, I saw the restaurant was two thirds full of people, and imagined the next hour spent sitting on my own at a “Billy no mates” table, shovelling pizza down my face while awkward couples had first dates or sat opposite each other in silence after twenty years of annoying each other.
I walked straight past the pizza restaurant, and on to the local grocery store. Sushi for one. Again. While leaving the grocery store, the guy on door security unknowingly earned himself a starring role in this blog post. He was saying goodbye to people as they left - but I noticed after a few moments that he only said goodbye to pretty women - nobody else. Asshole.
My evening didn’t end at the grocery store. While shovelling said sushi into my face, an old friend appeared in my phone. While enjoying myself tremendously in my so-so hotel room, she talked me into wandering down to the hotel bar in order to report back on the people frequenting it. At first I wasn’t going to - and told her as such - but then thought “what the f*ck”. Five minutes later I had brushed my teeth (I’m still not sure why), and wandered downstairs.
After a few minutes sitting on my own in the corner of a conspicuously empty hotel bar, waiting for Scarlet Johansson to arrive as she had done in “Lost in Translation”, a morbidly obese woman turned the corner on crutches, along with a hassled looking helper. She could have had the entire hotel bar area to sit in, but chose the seat right next to me. I pretended to look at my phone as she approached.
Her stay next to me was short-lived. Apparently the lounge seating was far lower than anticipated. She laughed as she nearly rolled over backwards, having fallen several feet onto the chair. Her crutches flew in all directions. It was all her helper could do to lift her back out of the chair, and off to a table with normal chairs across the bar from us.
While wondering what might happen next, a paid of geriatric Hells Angels wearing chrome bike helmets walked past the hotel window next to me. The guy had a long white beard. I wondered if this was what Santa did during the summer - touring mid-range hotels in the north of England.
A few minutes later the hotel bar was empty once more - save for me, and one young guy propping the bar up. He was perhaps twenty years old, and trying rather too hard to look like Raimi Malik. The black hoodie was a total give-away. He drank orange juice while I sipped at my second Cidre. No - I have not spelled it incorrectly - its the latest fizzy apple juice from the same company that make a very expensive lager. Apparently if you spell it wrong, you can charge more for it.
While sitting in the corner of the bar, thinking about the hacker wannabe opposite, I looked up and down myself, and realised I’ve entered the “can’t give a shit” phase of dressing to go out. I guess in the Mickey Flanagan scale of things, I was “out”, but I wasn’t “out out” - so sitting in a pair of scruffy jeans and a polo shirt was passable, right? I remember our eldest daughter once commenting that I always looked “cool” - but she was only nine years old at the time. Maybe I’ve found my appreciative audience?
While sitting, daydreaming about clothes, hackers, and hells angels, the conversation going on from the overweight woman and her helper pricked my ears. She appeared to know a LOT about serial killers. She started listing how long the prison terms had been for various killers - seemingly from memory. Who even does that? Sure, you learn your times tables, but who learns how long each serial killer has been banged up for?
Ah. More distraction. An amazing Indian family walked past the window. The thing that struck me about them was how beautiful the women in the family were - and how much effort must have gone into their appearance. I’m usually something of a luddite when it comes to makeup and hair, but all the girls wandering past were immaculate. I don’t mean that in a creepy way - they were just distractingly beautiful. I spotted a teenage girl in the middle of the group, walking along without a flicker of interest or emotion, and I smiled. She was surrounded by younger siblings who talked non-stop, jumped, danced, and ran their way along the pavement around her - all elbows, awkwardness and teeth. It reminded me of my own children.
I called home.
While talking to various members of my family as the phone was passed from person to person, another woman arrived in the bar on crutches, and I started to wonder if I attract injured people. She vanished almost before she appeared.
After putting the phone down, I noticed a new girl had arrived at the bar. A pretty girl. I’m not sure if she was checking in, or had a problem with her room. As she danced back and forth between staff members, I noticed something odd. She was the first really striking girl to appear at the bar in some time, and within moments, a guy appeared out of nowhere, and was standing at the bar - obviously to be seen. How shallow can people get?
While messaging a friend, amused at the attention seekers antics, the entire game got turned up a notch. A group of South African men arrived in the bar. Nothing says confidence and gutter humor quite like a group of white South African men in a hotel bar. One of them commented about talking to a girl during the day, and getting something in her eye (while he feigned masturbating) - the rest of the group fell about laughing. Apparently it was funny.
Moments later a midde-aged blonde lady wandered up and asked if the seat next to me was free. She sat down, and suddenly I found myself caught. I had nearly finished my drink, but didn’t want to leave her sitting near the group of sexist, misogynist idiots across the way on her own. I nursed my drink for some minutes until her husband (I’m guessing) appeared. I quietly got up, excused myself, and made for the elevator, where I met pretty girl obviously avoiding the bar.
“Which floor would you like?”
“The second. Thankyou” - I smiled.
And that’s where my adventure ends. For now.
An hour later I’m in the hotel room once more, sitting in front of the same laptop I’ve been sitting in front of all day, writing this. I must be mad.
If petty and meddlesome people stress you out try to begin looking at their slights, insults and jabs as a form of training. Being insulted offers you an opportunity to practice having a non-response internally by remaining calm. — Bryant McGill