When all is going well, sometimes you need to test the UC. Of course, that is a complete load of old cobblers, but it is true that sometimes something happens to test it for you. For me these tests usually come in the guise of a stressful situation or through the consumption of ill-advised food (because I only have so much willpower,and most of that is reserved for staying on the wagon...). Well, last week my current low-level UC status was scrutinized by an evening in which those two challengers came at me in a pincer movement...
The other evening my mates and I finally managed to schedule a mutually convenient evening for a curry. Now, I have blogged about my miraculous relationship with curry before. For all the things that the UC has stopped me from eating I have always expected to have my appetite for curry and all things indian curtailed most completely. However, despite the Devil owning all the best food as well as the best tunes (Lord knows what heaven must be like...), somebody somewhere decided to shine a small chink of light into my life, and allow me to consume the odd curry. As long as I don't go mad spicey-wise. So a curry with the lads is hunky-dory and a reservation was made.
On reflection, I should have had an inkling from the name... we booked a table at The Chilli Pickle. The menu arrived with, what I think the restaurant describes as 'authentic' (as opposed the UK-indian fare we might get from a standard indian takeaway/restaurant) dishes listed, and at the end of each dish description was a little row of chilli's to indicate the 'heat'of the dish. Obviously (although I hadn't given it much thought until then) pretty much all the dishes were racking up the little chilli's at the end - this was their ethos: everything with fresh chilli. I plumped for something '2 chillis' strong, the lowest available strength, and said a quiet little prayer for my bottom.
My 'bottom-prayer' was prudent, because at this point it had already been tested by a stressful situation of the utmost weirdness - the kind that only seems to happen to me...
My journey into Brighton to the Chilli Pickle had to be undertaken on my scooter, not an awful proposition now the weather is finally picking up: it is always pleasant to scoot along the Brighton seafront in the sunshine visualising myself as Jimmy in Quadrophenia (see below). The restaurant is located in Brighton's Lanes, so as I was on the bike I would be able to park pretty close. However, this being my first visit to this place, I was not certain which Lane I wanted to turn up. On approach to the first I indicated left (didn't slow because there was a steady slow flow of traffic) but then changed my mind - I'd go up the next one - so I stopped indicating and continued (no movement or change of pace). The car behind started tooting at me...
Now, it could have had something to do with having been worn down by thoughtless car drivers over the years, or it could have been a steroid-flashback, but inexplicably I gave 'em the bird (dangerous in my line of work, consider parents evening: "Have we met before...? Oh, yes, at that junction... Anyway, about your son's geography..."). As I rounded the next corner, the car behind shot past me, cut across the road in front of me and screeched to a halt. I came to a rapid stop, and sat astride the bike. The car door flew open and an extremely large and irate youth stormed toward me. I do not exaggerate when I describe him as LARGE. His mate got out the other side. Ahhh...
Next thing, he's thrusting his own raised middle digit right in my face:
"You man enuff to do dis in ma face man? You man enuff to dis this in ma face?"
Oh, do love that peculiar london patois the youngsters converse in these days. Especially when it's shouted in my face...
"Ah you man enuff? Huh? Like dis? Huh?"
Well, it seemed to me the only obvious answer was the truth:
"No. No, not at all. I'm really rather sorry actually..."
Which rather seemed to throw him:
"You was showin' ya blinkers..."
He said, which threw me - my 'blinkers'? What is he talking about? Oh, he means my indicator...
"Yeah, I changed my mind, sorry..."
"You was showin' yer blinkers... ya blinkers was on man!"
And at this point he started to punch the front of my scooter. PUNCH THE FRONT OF MY SCOOTER! Repeatedly. And repeating the word 'Blinkers'. I would have got off and run away, indeed I was desperately thinking about how quickly I could lay down the bike without damaging it, I was certain he wasn't going to let me put it on its stand before he started punching me. Thank god I was wearing my helmet... But he didn't. Once he had punched the bike several times, he stomped back to his car and drove off. Of course I then had to follow him round the one-way system for several hundred metres!
So, a curry on top of metaphorically shitting myself. Good combo. But the food was good. And the company excellent. And guess what? Next day no ill effect. In fact, since then I've been constipated! Go figure.
Rituals of Loss
2 weeks ago