Monday, 19 January 2009

Table For One

Since we moved to Oz, there have been a number of occasions when The (long-suffering) Australian has remarked, with slightly pitying smile, "You are SO English". He tends to say this when I have just complained about one of His People doing or saying something inappropriate. I want to give you examples but it might get me into trouble. And I do so loathe trouble. That kind, anyway.

Lately I've been attempting to be a bit more laid-back. A tad more easy come easy go. It's been going pretty well this year, though almost entirely because I've been under house-arrest during the ridiculously high temperatures and have only had to cope with the inappropriate behaviour of my own family.

So it came as a bit of a rude shock when I ventured out over the weekend to find a quiet spot to write, and managed to locate myself opposite Mr Inappropriate himself, a.k.a. Mr I've Got Skype And I'm Not Afraid To Use It, Even In Public.

My coffee had arrived and I'd just begun to type probably the best chapter of my life. Probably. The man at the table facing mine watched me shuffle my papers onto a spare chair and set the coffee cup back a little to make room for my beautiful laptop, and seemed to indicate the vast space his own much smaller machine had left him, with a smile and a sweep of his hand across the table. He seemed to, anyway. I bowed my head and got reabsorbed into my work.

A split second later I hear:
HELLO?

and look up to find Mr 5" (Screen) grinning wildly at his machine. He was Skyping someone. In public! A much smaller voice said: Oh, hello, what are you up to? This voice did not sound particularly pleased to hear from Mr 5", and so I immediately felt an affinity with him.

I'M HAVING COFFEE IN A PLACE ACROSS THE ROAD FROM THE LAUNDERETTE!
Ah, right.
YEAH, I'M WAITING FOR MY CLOTHES AND I'M IN THIS PLACE JUST NEAR IT, HAVING COFFEE!
Yes, yes, right. That's nice.
I CAN'T HEAR YOU VERY WELL! CAN YOU HEAR ME?

At this point I wanted to get up, grab him by the freshly ironed t-shirt and tell him that everyone in Melbourne could hear him, especially the very laid-back writer sitting opposite him. I mean, I understand that people go to cafes to chat, and that's why I always make a point of choosing cafes that no one else seems to like, or I sit in a quiet corner, or near other people who have come on their own. It's simply inappropriate to look like a person who is on his own, but then decide to Skype everyone you know: especially when the audio on his stupid 5" machine is so bad; especially when no one on his Skype list had anything interesting to say.

And so I let out a very very long, very very English sigh, and gave Mr 5" a look strong enough to wither him to 4 inches, and that seemed to do the trick. He eventually packed up and went across the road to collect his smalls.

Easy come, easy go - with just the odd exception.

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4 comments:

CarolineG said...

I met the UK equivalent of Mr Annoying in a cafe just weekend. But he topped yours! He played music really loudly from his laptop. Horrible horrible music too. I really had quite unhealthy feelings of malice towards him!
Caroline x

Geraldine Ryan said...

You did well, Emily. I may have punched him!

Emily Gale said...

I might take ear plugs with me next time.

Sam said...

Poor guy! Have a heart, you lot!