Saturday, 25 April 2009

Organising a dinner with girls Part II

So. I meet my firend in the reception. I am a little bit snop-dogged from the waiting, but she seems not to notice. We go on to discuss what we are going to make for dinner. Her friend is right outside, chatting on the phone, and we consult her as well. Ultimately we opt for a carbonara, and in the process of this decision we decide to invite another girl who is notoriously appreciative of the dish. So it's going to be four of us, after all. We send texts to the other two girls to meet us at nine at my block, then we head out of the reception. The girl kindly offers to contribute some of the ingredients, so I suggest we quickly pass by her room before reaching mine, just as a way of making a pit-stop.

Thus began the most sensational Odyssey in my entire life. After reaching her place and picking up the eggs, we walk out and are so rapt in conversation that we manage to get lost and walk to the opposite end of the college before we even figure out where the hell we're going. I do so hate it when architects build blocks with those counter-intuitive doors which lead sideways away through a staircase rather than just straight-as-logic out of the building. We turn and are going in the right direction this time around when we meet a friend of ours who is walking alongside some guy we don't know (the scenario is vaguely mystical and looks like something out of a poem by Thomas Harding). We stop for a quick chat and we decide to invite him over for the dinner. He says he'll be coming with some beef for the second plate because he is as hungry as a polar bear (dear friend). We're halfway home now when the girl turns and says, 'If he's bringing some meat, shouldn't we also make some mash?' It hadn't occurred to me and it's not a bad idea by any standard, but I don't have the ingredients for it. 'Oh, no worries, I do,' she pipes. So we head back to her place to pick up the ingredients for the mash. On the way, we meet a girl I rather like. 'Oh, hello,' I exclaim, my levels of attention leaping upwards. 'Hi,' she says, 'why are you carrying eggs in your hand?'

I hadn't realised - as a result of my original assumption that the trip was only going to be a minute, I hadn't bothered to put the eggs in a container and am now walking through campus randomly holding eggs in my hands like some Spanish farmer. I try to joke my way out of the question, and of course the joke sinks like the Titanic. We walk away, with sobriety.

We are in the original girl's house again, and we pick up the ingredients for the mash. This time I put the eggs in a container. We take a quick break at the room of the girl below us because my friend needs to organise tomorrow's Miss Marple tea-session or whatever the fuck and obviously she can think of no better time to do this than now, then we head out. It goes without saying that we bump into someone again. This time it is a girl who works with my friend every day and is currently heading home. As though we gave anything like the remotest of shits, she starts telling us about recipes on how to make yoghurt. Yoghurt. Who the fuck asks anyone about yoghurt recipes on a pathway in the middle of the night? Anyway. My friend counters by inviting her over to the dinner. (Unspeakably inspiring. I can't wait to hear her speak about yoghurt until three. Besides, this is starting to look crowded). We are about to leave her to her de rerum yogurtae when we are joined by another group of girls, also friends of my friend, which of course extends the chat and engages them for the better part of the next ten minutes. I for my own part am not so much bothered as a little surprised by the amount of people who seem to be around at this hour of night, you would think there's a convention of some sort. Still, I let them have their girly chat and let my mind wander in the meantime. After a solid five minutes finding out whose friend of whose colleague was thinking of banging whose boyfriend of whose sister of whose uncle, I say a couple of words to make conversation with a girl in the collectivity and my friend turns sharply towards me: 'Andrea, stop hitting on my friends.'

Oh. Right.

We are now three-quarters of the way home and I am thinking we just might make it. We do meet a friend of mine's this time around, and I stop to chat with him - not because I had any inclination to, merely because I wanted to keep the girl waiting to piss her off in revenge. We finally reach the house (my heart was pounding on the last fifty metres - I was convinced that on this final stretch we were going to meet some astrologer friend of hers who was going to keep us there for half an hour to explain the history behind the constellation of Orion and I would die of starvation in the wait).

No-one is there yet, so me and the girl have the time to get things ready for dinner. At around quarter to ten someone knocks on the door. I open and I find one of the girls I had invited - standing there with other five individuals! 'Took some friends with me,' she said, 'hope you don't mind.'

So there's seven of us in a room the size of a ship's cabin if the ship has been intended for wire-haired Fox Terriers, and another half-hour later the lad who was supposed to bring meat comes over with no food and another friend of his. The munch I have is now starting to look sparse, so they both go out to fetch some more ingredients, and while they're out the two girls we'd originally sent texts to come over (alone, thankfully). I am by now so hungry I'm starting to see spots before my eyes, so I say:

'Well, let's get started.'

'But Andrea,' one of the girl reminds me, 'we've got to wait for the two lads to come back.'

I just about faint temporarily and they reanimate me with massages. I am still half-conscious when the two lads come back. Finally, at around quarter to eleven, I can start cooking. I look around me and notice there are, in total, no less than eleven of us. So much for the 'intimate dinner at around eight.' I'm just thinking that this is beyond my capacity when the door knocks again. I open, and there's two girls standing in the corridor.

'Well, what is it?' I ask.

'Hi, you invited us for hot chocolate after we were done with our dinner, remember?'

Oh fuck. So there's thirteen of us now in a room the size of a ship's cabin if the ship has been intended for wire-haired Fox Terriers, and I have to go out and find someone else still up at those hours - my crockery is not enough to cook the food for everyone and I have to employ borrowed pans and stuff. When I finally start eating, it is one of the sweetest moments of my existence. I was going to call it a night at around one, except that the guests had one of those Mother Teresa moments that people sometimes get and they offered to do the washing for me. Per se it was meant to make the night easier and smoother, except that someone started passing around spliffs while they did 'to make the job easier' and it took them two hours and forty-five minutes for two frying pans and the dishes. I don't know if it contributed to the washing in terms of efficiency - it certainly made it a much more jolly experience than it usually is.

We closed around ten past four. I had work at eight thirty. I set the alarm for seven with several thoughts going to historical suicides like Socrates or Mark Anthony, after which I put my head on the pillow. At the split instant that I do that, the alarm goes off. It is seven already. My hand reaches across and switches the devilish instrument off, then I faint into the bed. By this I do not mean that I fall back asleep; I mean that I literally lose consciousness. My head fell back into the pillow without even the time for the usual 'I'll just close my eyes for ten seconds' kind of thought that you usually get before dozing off. When I open my eyes again, I see through the blinding headache (oh yeah I forgot to mention there was vodka alongside the spliffs, just to make sure we'd go to sleep early) that it is ten past eight in the morning.

Oh. Fuck.

I managed to badge in at work only eleven minutes off schedule on that day, but the state I presented myself in has already earned me the reputation of 'Vodka Goofy' among my colleagues. I guess I can live with that. Huzzah!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Organising a dinner Part I

Ok, so the big news are taking a bit longer than I expected. But we're getting there, believe me. When? Provisional date is May 15th (if the force is with us). Start the countdown. until then, I'll tell of what happened to me two nights ago.

I have recently decided to invite some girls over at my place for dinner. I did this after an intense feeling of exhaustion which resulted by cocktailing some heavy days of work with nights out at the pubs (in other words, cocktailing them with cocktails). I thought that a quiet night in would make for an opportunity to relax and recharge. I also assumed that this would be a social gathering rather easy to organise and execute. Never have I been so sorely mistaken! Putting together a dinner with the girls turned out to be so hard that if they used it in the army as an entry test to become a soldier the world would be obliged to revert to pacifism out of simple lack of troops.

I meet two girls at work today and I tell them, 'Shall we have dinner together tonight?' They ponder and seem to think it's a good idea; however, they have to consult their housemates, see what's going on and all the usual yadda yadda. So far so good - I'm not Prince Richard so it's not like I expect a shot-in-granite 'yes' from the moment I open my mouth. I tell them I'm bound to be free tonight (because if I go out one more time I'm going to have a face like a fucking murena tomorrow, seriously, there's a limit even to how much you can go out), so if they fancy having a plate at mine's, then they can send me a text. Otherwise, I'll just chill out on my own.

'However,' I am quick to stipulate, 'if you do come, let's make it an early one. I've got to wake up at seven tomorrow, so let's eat around eight so that we can be in bed by ten, ok?' They earnestly agree, and in fact add that they were about to suggest that themselves.

6:25 pm. I am walking home and I receive a text. One of the girls lets me know that they're all going into town to have something at a McDonalds, then they'll be off home. She invites me to join them. I invite her to kiss my ass: the idea of going to town is looking as attractive as Queen Victoria's asshole when she's on her death-bed and doing that for a meal at a McDonalds of all places is so stupid it wouldn't pass the shit-test for a con on Peter Griffin. So I politely decline the invitation. However I compound that by saying that if they pass by my place when they get home, I'll offer them a mug of hot chocolate before they go to sleep.

7:20 pm. I am home and I have taken the meat out from the freezer. I am as hungry as a pack of Bavarian wolves. I am about to tear open the plastic over the meat when I recall that I've only heard back from one of the two girls, and she had not specified whether the other had joined her group of McDonalds adventurers. So I call girl number two - I do this almost distractedly, as though it were a matter of no consequence.

'Hi there, are we still having dinner together tonight?'

Oh yes yes yes yes abso-fucking-lutely she says, to put it succinctly though not quite in her own terms. 'I'll be at the college by eight,' she tells me.

At eight. Forty minutes of wait is not exactly ideal for my cavernous stomach, but I decide the company is worth the wait. She has a friend with her and I tell her she can bring her along if she so wishes; she says she will, so that'll make three of us.

8:00 pm. The silence.

8:12 pm. Hello darling, where are you? 'I am on my way,' she tells me, and furthers this by saying that I should meet her at the reception at 8:30. (Fuck).

8:30 pm. I am standing at the reception. It is a catacomb for all the activity that there is in here. The only sign of life is given by three Dutch girls who are sitting on the floor with laptops and speaking in that absolutely incomprehensible language of theirs. They vaguely remind me of three hens clucking in a sty at three times the normal volume. A background of the most pleasant nature, let me tell you.

8:35 pm. WELL? 'Oh, I'm already at the college. I'm at a friends' place in room 102. I'll be there immediately.' She hangs up after that, so I decide to wait for her over there.

Now, there are more or less sixty metres from her block to the reception, seventy-five if you include the staircase. It takes approximately ninety seconds to walk it, even if you're on crutches or if you're carrying dynamite.

So how the fuck in hell she managed to take twelve minutes from the door of her room to the reception is something beyond all my powers of cognition. Seriously, what is there to do outside of picking up her coat and maybe locking the door? Ok, there's saying good-bye to her friend, but she's off to the reception, not to fucking Tibet. She'll see her tomorrow, so the ceremonies in theory should have been limited.

I do meet her in the reception eventually, but I'm running out of space! Part II of this stuff up in two days, ciao!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

In the meantime

So here I sit, with a pair of headphones on my head telling me the chronicle of a football match I couldn't find a way to watch (and before I get the rolling eyes from the girls for my superficiality, I was meant to write an article on it) and trying to plan a pub crawl for my birthday. It looks good enough on the map, but of course these things need to be tested out on the field, so I think it'll be Paris tonight. Whether I already get drunk depends on whether I have company. If I'm alone, on the other hand, I might just try to pick up.

Come to think I'd probably try to pick up even if there were two of us. Whatever.

This is a bit of a filler post, really. It's not that I haven't had the time to write - on the contrary, I've been producing quite a bit of material. Why, then, have I not been posting it? Well, because of the big news that I mentioned in my earlier post. Until that stuff happens, I've got to put a handbrake on just about everything.

So let's think of trains now. I need to a.) go home and eat something because I'm starving and if I start drinking on an empty stomach it will not go well with the fact that I have to work tomorrow (admittedly I have said this phrase about five times in the last two weeks and it hasn't really had much effect, especially not last saturday; I ended up slaughtering myself in a club and taking the 6:10 a.m. train back to work, where I started at 9. How I managed to keep myself up on my feet is something which depended on the Red Bull, that stuff probably burns out one month of life for every can you drink of it but man does it do its job). b.) find someone to come to Paris with me and convince him/her we will NOT be drinking. c.) Lure him/her into a pub and start drinking. d.) Get home before one a.m. Sounds good.

We're off!