Friday, May 16, 2008
THE INVISIBLE MAN
When we were kids we had all sorts of fantasies both healthy and unhealthy.
One of mine, and I'm sure of many others was to be invisible.
The advantages were numerous and included robbing banks, avoiding boring people and sneaking into the girls' changing rooms at the swimming baths.
Well, it seems that I have now achieved this feat - Invisibility that is.
All I had to do was to grow older. Now that I'm in my mid-50's I can go totally unnoticed in many public places especially clothing stores and trendy bars.
Last night Gary and I played our weekly game of snooker having restored the custom after an absence of several months. Usually, after an hour of snooker we go across the road to the Diablo wine bar for a couple of glasses of wine. Unfortunately the Diablo has closed down (they really must have needed our regular custom) and a new greek taverna is being built. At a loss for where to go we went to the Grange (formerly the Living Room) a place we didn't frequent because the service was always too slow (lots of staff but a ridiculous computerised till system that took ages to process a simple order - great for inventory management I assume but probably cost them business).
The usual long wait happenned in trying to order 2 glasses of wine at the bar (same till system in place)with four barmen processing 2 orders for tap beer. We waited and waited until I waved a $50 note high in the air and finally attracted some sevice. The wines we ordered were not available ("sorry but we are in the process of changing our wine list" - well why bloody have the unavailable ones still in the list then! Anyway that excuse in the industry usually means that they haven't paid their bill to their regular supplier and are looking for another one)so we had to don miners helmets again to try and read the complicated wine list in near darkness.
Having consumed our first glass and deciding on our customary second one we debated leaving to go somewhere else (the noise level was too high (Juice TV from 2 screens up loud - interestingly the third flatscreen tv was playing a video of Jancis Robinson MW talking about wine but the sound was off which made for unnusual viewing watching La Tache being poured to the sound of Panic at the Disco) but as I had sent a text to Lynn to meet us there we were forced to stay.
I went up to the bar to buy our pre-decided on wines and once again there were four barmen behind the bar. One was wiping glasses and three (yes 3) were serving a pretty blonde girl. I waited next to the blonde girl and even though I was taller (and wider at certain angles)I realised that I was invisible to them. As I was also invisible to the blonde girl in question I was able to sneak appreciative glances at her.
After a while I tried the waving dollars (2 x $20 bills) but to no effect such was the appeal of the blonde who was ordering two of the cheap house wine so I said Fuck this and started to walk off. One of the 4 turned out to be the duty manager who called me back and told his staff to serve me. It ended up that he and two others served me (ending up doubling the order) and he offered me free meatballs which I declined.
I watched the way the bar was run while we had our second glass and noticed in addition to the 4 barmen, at least as many other staff wandering around the place (serving food etc but often standing around) and wondered how they made any money and how long the new lot would last.