What’s the worst that could happen? This sentence, spoken in a singsong voice by mothers and progressively annoying fathers alike, is used to torture and terrorise children the world over. My own mother could probably say it in French, English and Danish. They imagine we have wildly unfounded fears that will be easily placated with these six words. Well, my fears of awkward social situations are not that easily soothed.
Let me set the scene. A mildly attractive, yet quirky young woman (that would be me – modesty be damned!) steps into a café. She’s been in town for a few days and she may or may not have forgotten how to carry on a non-Skype related conversation (am I the only one who can’t stop staring at herself?). It’s 3pm and this particular day has been all about slinking around corners and into bookshops. She’s starving. So, into the den of a hipster café she steps. Through the maze of mismatched retro tables and up to the counter. She hovers, uncomfortably.
Is this the sort of place where one sits down and waits for service? Will this blue-haired woman who is a bit lacking in the clothing department (seriously, a couple of strings does not constitute a t-shirt) show me to a table? They should really put signs up with these sorts of important details. Ms. Blue-hair-no-shirt asks me if I need any help.
“I don’t know where to sit.”
These are actual words that come out of my mouth. She tells me that it’s a big place and I can sit wherever I like. Well, Captain Obvious, I think I’d like to sit by the window. She comes over with a menu and tells me she likes my skirt. It’s not a skirt; it’s a dress (I see those compliment acceptance classes really paid off). Cue awkward pulling up of jumper to reveal top half of outfit. Is it hot in here? I try to read the menu. Decide that words make no sense.
“I don’t know what to eat.”
She tells me everything is good and I want to cry. I see the word spinach on the menu and point. A salad will be safe and rewarding and she will be impressed by my healthy vigour. She says something about my tattoo. I smile and fiddle with my shoes.
A salad arrives and I’m so fucking hungry I could eat a horse. Except I’m a vegetarian so it would have to be a soy-horse. I don’t think that’s a thing. Spinach will have to do. Only, the spinach seems to be covered with something that looks suspiciously like bacon. I can’t be sure because it’s been such a long time since I’ve seen a dead animal up close. She asks me if my food is ok. I have two choices – I can tell her that I’ve momentarily forgotten how to read or I can eat the bacon. The thing is – you can’t run away from restaurants because you have to pay. I don’t want to leave the salad untouched for fear of hurting Blue-Hair’s feelings (somewhere in the world, her mother is asking her what’s the worst that could happen and she’s tearfully explaining that an attractive yet quirky girl might not eat ANY of the salad she serves and she’ll know that her tip is only out of PITY).I eat a few leaves, hand over some cash in exchange for my humiliation and stomp away. Except I don’t stomp because that’s loud and I don’t want to draw any more attention to myself.
Clearly, I can never go back there. And with my luck, this is the place where all my future cool Canadian friends hang out and now we’ll never get to meet or crochet together while sharing hilarious stories of uncomfortable encounters with near-naked blue haired women. I will leave Victoria a lonely, chubby pariah with a salad phobia. This is the worst that could happen and it is entirely plausible, thank you very much.
- rampages posted this