March came in like a lion! The wind was howling around the corners as it is predicted to do, and the temperature dropped from high eighties to low seventies, and then some.
My daughter has been on what might be described as a 'health kick'. She has exchanged soda for water and stopped snacking on the delights that are so prolific in this part of the world. Although I am not a promoter of 'doing away' with fast food, it is very easy to 'make do', which is sometimes a good way to pile on the pounds! In her determination to reduce down to her pre-American days, our daily 'constitutional' has taken on a new stance. When I walk alone, I march, but when I walk with my daughter, it is sometimes little more than a stroll. However, we are now 'power' walking and probably looking totally ridiculous in the process. I am not a stranger to making a spectacle of myself, but it is normally (I stress the word, 'normally') not done on purpose.
The footpaths that circle our walk are quite narrow, and we sometimes meet someone going up the hill, as they are coming down, and it is usual for the one going up, to give way to the one coming down. However, I have been commanded to 'run', up the said hill, and giving way has been a virtual impossibility, as once I have broken into a sprint, it is not easy to stop! This has caused much amusement to those we meet along the way. They have stood back and let us through.
Making a spectacle of myself, and being part of 'a spectacle' were what made my week.
Watching television as a child, I had always wanted to visit a typical 'American Diner', and I am delighted to say that I am a frequent visitor to one particular establishment that is probably as near to those I used to see portrayed in the programmes I used to watch. We had made arrangements to meet a friend on Monday evening, and he was happy to meet at the diner. He had arrived before us, and seated himself at a table, and was quietly sipping a soda when we walked in. As he greeted us, we were ushered to another table at the back of the diner. The waitress who had waited on our friend was walking towards us with a plate of food, looking rather confused. It appears that although the food was not for our friend, she was about to take his order, when he was swiftly pulled away to another table. The 'altercation' that took place, was the entertainment for the evening. If anyone there were not expecting 'dinner and a show', they were obviously not regulars! "My regulars sit at my table", came the retort. I stood, wondering not only where to sit, but where to 'put myself'.
"I am so sorry. You should not have been put through that. That was most unprofessional", said our 'regular' waitress. I nodded, thinking that she was taking responsibility for her actions. "No", she continued. "She should know better than to act in that manner. She really did make a scene." My jaw was now sweeping the floor. There was no recognition of any 'unprofessional' behaviour on behalf of our 'regular' waitress, just on behalf of the woman who stood looking totally flummoxed! The manager looked less than amused.
"Did they ask for you?", the manager asked the waitress who had decided to claim us. "They are my regulars; they would have asked for me" said the waitress. It is true, we have been served by her on many occasions, but we have also been waited upon by the other lady. I obeyed orders, and sat at the table where I had been instructed to sit. I mouthed my apologies to the other waitress.
As the fracas died down, and the patrons waited patiently for the next 'sketch', we enjoyed our dinner, and the pleasant company. At the end of the meal, the waitress that had originally hoped to serve our friend, came to clear the dishes. I apologised to her for taking away her customer, and for any awkwardness that had occurred. She was most grateful, and said that she had not realised that we were 'regulars' of the other lady. Dana explained that we did not 'belong' to anyone, and also apologised for the disruption. Our friend was rather amused by the whole incident.
"They didn't ask for her", the first waitress reported to the manager. Suddenly it was 'game on', and 'round two' was just about to start. The 'audience' watched, as the manager turned to our waitress and demanded an explanation. Arms were flailing and accusations flying, but in the middle of the 'scene', we decided to leave. All eyes were upon us, but they quickly returned to the ongoing performance.
Feeling like an 'extra' in a sit-com, I decided to continue with the acting career. Performing to demand is something that I have also become accustomed to.
The supermarket was rather busy on Wednesday, with queues at every open counter. It is rather interesting that no one 'queue' swaps, unless invited! Samantha and I weigh up the options, walk from one queue to another, to determine which one we think will take the least time to negotiate. However, everyone appeared to have a lot of time to spare! We chose a queue, and were immediately told to try another, by a store employee. "There might be less people, but the other people only have a few items", said the helpful helper! I almost moved, but then chose to stay where I was. I noticed the look of confusion upon the face of the 'helpful helper' and chose to educate her on the finer points of mathematical equations and scientific theorems, in other words, gave her the benefit of my experience. Although the people at the left cash desk had less items, the cashier had to cash up five people. The right cash desk was host to one person, whom despite having a trolley full of groceries (the word trolley threw her into extra turmoil; I did not say 'cart') was going to make one payment. Therefore, the right cash desk would be empty quicker than the left. The 'helpful helper' must have been less than impressed when my theory proved to be correct, as she was not there to 'take the shame', or else she may have just not been interested, but I like to think it was the former!
My acting career, within the comedy arena, where I am the 'stooge' continued throughout the week. "Look out of the window in 30 seconds", said Samantha, as she transported her wares to her car. I was busy, but decided that humour was the best way to tackle my day. However, when I crouched down, and put a waving bear at the window, and then a dancing lion, and a waving foam hand, in succession, above my head to be seen outside in the car park, I expected Samantha to be the only one out there! The tiger mask (and I cannot remember from where it came) did not have big enough slits in the eyes for me to really see through, and my clawing at the window caused much amusement. It was when I removed the mask that I realised the show was not only for my daughter! I could hear the remarks; "Oh, it's only the Englishwoman". I never denounce the misapprehension that all English people are eccentric! It allows me so much leeway!
However, my joy in enjoying the week's fun events all paled into total insignificance, when I danced the dance of real delight on Saturday evening, when I received a call from my son. Little Jamie was born in the early hours of Sunday morning (England time) and I have another grandson! It is times of joy such as these, that the Englishwoman abroad needs there to be not such a great divide between our worlds.
Making a spectacle of myself for the next couple of weeks will continue, as I go around with a broad grin on my face, and show anyone and everyone the pictures of my two grandsons, whether they want to see them or not! Continuing sagas of eccentricity, lucid moments and the like, are always in the mix to make up ....... another story!