Thursday, 4 December 2008

My life as a French farce

Looking back over what I can remember of my chequered career, the incidents which stand out with the greatest and most appaling clarity are the ones involving the highest degree of buttock-clenching embarrasment.

The one which stands out particularly as being the sort of incident which - if I wrote it into a sitcom script - would be most obviously cut as contrived and implausible, happened when a student couple, both of whom I knew well, split up.

I was in my flat attempting to deal telephonically with a terrible crisis which had befallen a language student friend, and to cope with which I had to buy them a plane ticket home from their 'year abroad', when there was a knock at the door.

It was a tearful young lady - let us call her Beatrix for the sake or argument - who informed me that she had just chucked her boyfriend, an acned youth (let us call him Rodney) whose relationship with the sweet and extremely pretty Beatrix was a mystery to all. "Go and have a seat in the living room", I told her, "I'll be with you in a moment."

I then reapplied myself to the intricacies of coping with the multiple-choice button-pressing telecommunications nightmare that was the BA booking line in the early 90s, when I was interrupted once more by a knock at the door.

I gurgled helplessly as Rodney strode in, saying "I've just split up with Beatrix, I need a drink..." and made his own way to the living room. It was a good 10 minutes before I could join them, during which I gather silent recrimination was the order of the day.

Both eventually forgave me, though never each other, curiously enough.


scarlet-blue said...

Women are strange creatures. They are impressed with all sorts of imagined attributes.. the acne would have been invisible to an imaginative female.
So why did they split?

Pearl said...

Awkward, yes, but nice that they both thought enough of you to turn to you in their time of need.
Or perhaps they just knew you had liquor on tap?

Gyppo Byard said...

Scarlet - She was a first year and, flattered, had accepted a date from the first person who had asked her ('Rodney'). After a week or two she had realised that there were far better things on offer, many of whom she subsequently went out with and dumped. She is now happily married to a very nice bloke, also an old friend of mine, and we see them and their charming kids from time to time. 'Rodney' eventually married someone from New Zealand. Such is life.

Pearl - I frequently fulfil this function for friends. They think I have a bottomless reserve of 'silent sympathy'. More often, I can't think of anything pertinent to say and feel too awkward to throw them out, but if it comes across as a positive, who am I to disabuse them?

I talked someone out of taking an overdose once; that episode will probably feature in a future 'My life as a French farce' posting, since her scary grandmother/guardian turned up with the police in tow at 4am having entirely misconstrued what I (then aged 31) was doing with her 16-yr old granddaughter. The girl in question knows my wife and still writes to us occasionally.

scarlet-blue said...

Ah.. yes, people are always misconstruing my meaning...

Gyppo Byard said...

Hmmm - I did smell the metallic tang of irony but thought it worth a clarification anyway, because I was bored.

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Go and have a seat in the living room" For some reason I started imagining you as Sid James up to some new scam - marriage guidance, in this case - in Hancock's Half Hour. And that's it would have ended there too. And you'd have kept your cool and probably made a quid or two into the bargain.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

That's the most buttock-clenchingly embarrassing thing that's happened to you? I'm sure Mrs Pouncer and I can do better than that at the Junction 11 gig !