You can take the waiter out of the restaurant....
What's that all about?
I arrived at the airport to find my three traveling companions, The Supreme Leader, The Supreme Bean Counter, and The Canadian all dressed in full executive combat gear. They looked like candidates on The Apprentice. I looked like an extra from a Saturday morning kids show. So I was late and dressed inappropriately. I looked good, don't get me wrong, but I probably should have bobbed my suit on. Arse. This wasn't a good start to the day. I tried a quick joke which obviously bombed as no one laughed or even remarked. I needed a smoke......
I never got a smoke.
I didn't get one when we landed as the train from Gatwick to Victoria was there when we arrived. I never got one when we arrived at Victoria as the bloody taxi rank was full of waiting cabs. Oh the irony. I never got one when we arrived at Ludgate House as we got there with about a minute to spare. I was eating fingers by this point, any ones fingers at that.
We were shown up to the 9th floor to a board room, the staging area. The views were unbelievable. To the left was the London Eye, ahead was St Paul's Cathedral, to the right Lord Fosters Gherkin thingy and behind that Canary Wharf. Despite what I had said previously it was hard to stay aloof and cool. Below us was Blackfriars Bridge were God's banker, "Roberto Calvi" was found hanged. This was all very very fucking cool. Not for the Calvi family I mean, but for me this was impressive stuff.
Then things went a bit tits up.
We had been pretty much alone in this room for about ten minutes when in strode more Pin Stripe Warriors. The room reeked of testosterone and aftershave. And there I was with jeans and a shirt nicely finished with a man bag. Blackfriars Bridge was looking like a good option. One of the organisers wandered over and there was lots of introductions and hand shakes, "I'm the MD and these are my senior managers and Manuel. He's a waiter."
EARTH SWALLOW ME NOW!!!
I was well out of my comfort zone. I was so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn't even remember where it was anymore. I stuck out like a drunk in church. I'm much more used to serving these types, not loitering with them and discussing golf handicaps. My insistence that the greatest golfing handicap were the jumpers didn't go down well either. The golfing conversation was started by some Alpha male with a really bad perm job. Seriously it looked like a Brillo Pad. He wandered over and I'm not making this up said...
"Well chaps, who plays the old golf then?" whilst simulating a golf stroke. I nearly had a stroke of my own. What a plum. I never realised that people like that really existed. He was inviting us all for a golfing weekend in Malaga. I said I would check my diary. The Canadian shot me a look.
The room began to fill with Chairmen and Managing Directors and Operation Managers and what have you. The only other waiters there were the ones that brought in the coffee. I tried to give them a look of solidarity but they didn't want to know.
At this point a rather hyper lady arrived with name badges for everyone. Each one bore your name, company and position. At this point people stopped talking to me. Which in many respects was a result. After more pissing about and wank chat with pin stripped people we were finally summoned for our interview.
The main interviewer was from CAMRA. CAMRA for those of you who don't know are the people who campaign for Real Ale and real ale drinkers. The very real ale drinkers I was slagging off on here a week or so ago. What are the fucking chances eh?
I said two things.
I nodded a lot. I looked interested. I tried to add a few points to the discussions. But in the end I said two things. Neither of which I'm sure went very far to securing us our award. But what the hell! It was over 6 hours since I had last smoked and it was all I could think about. Well that and a decent coffee.
We had time to kill after and we went for a wander about the area, past the Tate and the Globe Theatre, across the Millennium Bridge, over to St Paul's and then to Fleet Street for a pint. They walked and talked, I smoked.
By the time we got back on the plane I was shattered. As soon as the safety dealy was over I nestled in for a bit of a
snooze power nap. I woke up after about ten minutes to find a trail of drool down the window. I didn't care any more. I just wanted to go home. I tried to stay awake but kept drifting off and doing that silent head banging thing you do when you are neither awake nor asleep.
It was fun, to a point, but I'll be glad to get back to my happy place tomorrow and I'll be looking down my nose at them and not the other way around........
p.s I'll be round the blogs tomorrow. I've got to eat.....and smoke...