Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 15

Adam and I turn up to event that is being held in the upstairs of bar on the Haymarket near Piccadilly Circus. We have a beer downstairs and sit around checking everyone else out before moving off up stairs.

In the upstairs bar, where the lights have been suitably dimmed, there is a large group of people milling around. Even at first glance there are definitely more women than men. I think someone else had mentioned this. They seem to have trouble attracting guys along, but tickets for women are always sold out. Adam nudges me, smiling about this and then he whispers "fish in a barrel", I slap my forehead, oh brother, what am I doing here.

Standing by the bar are two women with clipboards who are dispensing name badges.

"I hate name badges did I mention that?"
"What you're a person not a badge?"
"No, nothing so ideological, it's just that my name is always spelled wrong."

Seriously, it's true, if I get a name badge it will inevitably say George, Graham or Gordan. Have you ever met anyone called Gordan? No, me neither.

"Don't worry you don't look like a George."

We collect our badges and it's worse than usual. I don't even see how it's possible as I look at the printed card and clear plaster holder.

"So what does it say?"

I show Adam my badge.


Adam finds this hilarious and is laughing out loud while I glumly stand there looking at it. I don't believe it. Okay, my parents obviously had a sense of humour, but not that much of one.

"I think that might be my fault."
"What did you do?"
"Well, when I filled in the form, I put you down as Gordo."

I raise my hands in the air in disbelief. How on earth could he do that?

"But why would you do that?" I ask him.
"Well to be fair, it is what we call you."
I shake my head, this is, of course, true.

"Fair point."
"Look at it this way, you have a talking point."
"What that my parents were very, very strange people?"
"No I was thinking more like 'hey, I'm Godot, you're waiting is over."
"You know, I really think you would be much better off with this badge than me. You already have the corny lines and are prepared to use them on a first strike basis. You're a dangerous guy."

One of the women running the show calls everyone's attention and says that as there are more women than men tonight the men will be doing the moving around why the women stay seated. We're reminded that we only have three minutes.

"So make the most of it," she yodels.

The women shuffle off to the ring of tables and chairs positioned all the way around the room and the men hang back watching the women go.

"Anyone you noticed?" I ask Adam.
"Maybe one or two, but difficult to see really what with it being so dim in here."
"Yeah, what's with that?"
"No idea, anyway here we go."

The men are given numbers and ordered off to find the corresponding table. As soon as I sit down the woman I am to sit opposite, who is attractive'ish if red ringlets are your thing, she looks at me and sighs and a sour look spreads across her face like a setting sun. She seems to deflate in front of my very eyes, which to be honest is kind of off putting.

But she does have a point. Who needs three minutes?

"You're not my type," she says in flat nasal voice.
"Ditto," I say.
"Dit what?"
"Errr nothing."
"So what are we going to talk about?" she asks me.

I look at her and really I want to say lets sit here and enjoy the silence, which seems appropriate considering our date ended about two seconds after I sat down. Worse than that we haven't even officially started yet. The women running the evening are still waiting for everyone to get settled. It's only now that they tell everyone to get started.

"Well why don't you tell me what you type is then?"
"Brad Pitt."

Oh really, I'm thinking. Of course he is. I mean why wouldn't he be? I wish I could leave it there, but before I know it my mouth has uncoupled itself from my brain and is talking. Oh boy.

"That's pretty optimistic of you," I say.

She looks at me with a face of thunder.


I nod at this. It seems a fair enough analysis, and we then sit there for two and a half minutes looking into space. Not, I should add, each other's space.

My next date is really no better. She gets the talking off to a rapid start, by starting quite clearly her aims and objectives.

"I work in TV and I'm a vegetarian. I'm only really interested in dating other people who work in TV and who are vegetarians."

I nod at this and smile, I read smiling makes your date feel more comfortable. Me? I'm all about the comfort.

"Do you work in TV?"
"Are you a vegetarian. I would settle for a vegetarian."

I like that, I mean come on, the girl would settle for a vegetarian.

"No, I'm a prolific meat eater. I also have no problem with McDonald's in moderation."
"McDonald's? I'm not sure we're that suited."

This did also seem to be a pretty astute piece of analysis. All wasn't lost though she thought my Godot badge was very amusing, but clearly her waiting period looked like it might be a bit longer.

As the musical chairs get started again they guys are all up trundling forward I look back to Adam who is coming up behind me and smile and shake my head. I almost walk in to the next table paying little attention as I am to where I'm going. Before I see her I'm thinking that it can not possibly get any worse, but right then it does. I can't tell you how furious I am.

"Susan," I say with my hands on my hips.

I stand there in front of her and don't even bother to sit down.

"Oh don't say it like that."
"Don't say it like that? That's rich, what are you doing here? After all of your pleas for me not to come?"
"I know I can't believe you came. That's so unfair. I wanted to keep it quiet. This is not the kind of thing that I would tell people I would do."
"But you're here."
"I know, and I'm a single cliché. Congratulations you've exposed me. I want a boyfriend what do you expect."
"A little honesty, that's what."
"Well, I'm not sure dating and honesty are totally compatible."
"I'll say, I don't believe, that's so underhanded and cheeky."
"Gord keep your voice down. You'll put people off."
"Gee wouldn't want to ruin your night."
"Look I'm sorry, what can I say? I thought it would be embarrassing."
"Oh yeah I bet, what me getting to see you at work?"

Susan puffs indignantly at this.

"I don't do 'at work', thank you very much."
"So who did you drag along?"

Susan smiles when I say this, which is disarming. By all rights she should not be smiling. I'm worried and I feel my upper hand, drenched in righteous indignation, start to slip away. I have a really bad feeling suddenly in the pit of my stomach.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

I try to peer ahead, but the next girl, is hidden behind a pillar. I wrack my brains for a second, but cannot think of anyone she would have bought with her who would allow her to show off such a smug smile.

"Not Charlotte, surely?"
"Don't be silly, you wouldn't find Charlotte here you idiot."
"So who is it?"
"Well, Gord it was difficult to find someone to come along. It's not like I have Adam who has to be held back."
"You've got to give it to him, the guy is one big keen positive attitude just raring to get stuck in."

And just about at that point our three minutes are up. I'm not sure I used them all that well.

"Oh hurry up Gord, now is my chance to meet some real boys."
"Funny, you've got Adam next."
"Oh that's nothing, wait until you see who you've got."

I eye her suspiciously hoping that she will give something away, but absolutely nothing.

"What have you done?" I ask her.

Susan gives me her best innocent look.

"Moi? I haven't done anything, this one is all down to you Gord."

As I move away from Susan and the table I am still wracking my brains, but really it's a total blank. Susan gives me a little wave.

"Oh you're funny," I say over my shoulder.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 14

When you work at home you kind of exist in a slightly different world. Within this world there are a number of rules and one of these rules is generally speaking that during the day the doorbell never rings. It's a fact it just doesn't. It's weird I know, but true.

The doorbell never ringing adds to the eerie quietness of the streets that's only punctuated by a blanket of merged voices that drifts in and out of the school down the street at even intervals throughout the day between the start of the whole education business, lunch and going home time. So when the door goes a little before one o'clock, it makes me jump. I'm just so not used to it ringing.

Finally I'm thinking one of those lazy postmen is ringing my door ready to deliver an exciting parcel. So when I open the door I'm a little surprised to see not one of the postal service's unshaven and slack jawed delivery men, but Alison, which is weird as it's a Friday and Alison is normally at work using her genius lawyer skills to save huge corporations.

I wish people did this more, you know, drop in unannounced, but they seem to avoid it London and instead opting for intricate advanced planning, which I am crap at partly because of its intricate nature and partly because you have to do it in advance.

"Surprise," says Alison.
"I'll say, come in, people never stop by for tea anymore."
"Well, you know a beverage of choice."
"Well my beverage of choice today is a bottle, maybe even a reckless two, of Chablis."

I do a mock stumble backwards in response to Alison's wild suggestion as to be honest I'm stunned. Lunchtime drinking? This is very un-Alison like behaviour. She usually never leaves the office before seven and is totally dedicated to her job. That probably explains the large house and smart new Mini.

"Wow, this is unheard of what gives?"
"Oh it's Friday, I'm owed so many countless days holiday. Besides it's a mercy mission?"
"Mercy mission?"

Suddenly I'm not liking this, it's like the Red Cross is going to turn up with a care package at any second.

"Well I heard about your DIY problems."
"There's a surprise. Don't tell me Susan FM."

Alison puts an index finger to her pursed lips.

"Now you mention it, I think it was that station."
"24/7 that girl is unstoppable. Does everyone know?"

Alison smiles, brings her feet together and gives me a little nod.

"Mmm, afraid so."
"That's depressing."
"Oh Gordie it's not that bad."
"Alison?" I say folding my arms and eyeing her.
"Okay, pretty bad. Now come on."

I head back stairs and slip on my trainers and jacket before locking up the flat and bounding back down the stairs. I have a huge smile on my face, I love to see Alison and even more so when Paul isn't around. I mean Paul is a nice guy, he's the guy that Alison married, but we're not close friends. He's just the guy she met, and married. And you know how it is, no one gets to choose the people their friends date and co-habitat with, which frankly is something of a shame.

"So where are we going?"
"Thought we'd go to that Italian on Highbury Hill."

On the way up to the restaurant we're talking about Johnny and my sister and really I find it hard to help myself from saying "I don't believe it". Unlike me, however, Alison is not at all surprised that Johnny has met someone almost immediately after breaking up with Carolyn - even if it is my sister. She says she thinks they'll make a good couple.

"A good couple? Oh come on."
"They're well suited, you know they are. Besides people like Johnny and your sister are never single long," she says.
"Yeah, but there is long, and there's five minutes. You know I'm not entirely sure how they do it."
"Easier than most people, I think," says Alison.
"Yeah I got that impression."

In the restaurant we order wine and clink glasses as we look over the menu. Alison is savouring hers and says I should be prepared as she is likely to get a little drunk.

"It's lunchtime drinking I just can't do it, but I do enjoy it."
"I know, I like the way that it totally absolves you from doing anything from the rest of the day. I'm already looking forward to the total lack of afternoon activity."
"But Gord you don't do much anyway?"
"True, but I like the feeling all the same."

As we continue to study the menu Alison tells me she has a really good idea for me. As soon as I hear this I know that it is bound to involve some kind of ritual humiliation. Don't ask me how, but other people's ideas and helpful suggestions seem to always involve this.

"Oh I am so not going to like this."
"Oh don't say that, it's a really good idea and you need some good ideas."
"I do?"
"Okay, if this is involves going around to some girl's house and asking her why she kicked me out/dumped me, then count me out."
"It's so much better than that."
"Okay, in which department are we talking about?"
"Well...still in the dating department, seriously you should do this."

At this point Alison hands me a piece of paper ripped from a newspaper. I so knew it. It's like an application form for ritual humiliation. Ritual humiliation is so formal these days.

"Speed dating? You have to be kidding."
"Oh come on, you should try it."
"Oh yeah right. Why can't you just introduce me to some of your friends?"
"My friends?"
"Yes," I say brightly thinking Alison will rustle up some attractive brunette friend at a moment's notice.
"Gord, I have done and you either never like them because they are lawyers or you go out with them once and never call them, which means I have to have these awkward conversations."

I'm sad to say this is totally true. I don't know how it happens. I think it has something to do with the fact that these dates are always preceded by the words "oh you'll really like Caroline, she's wonderful...". Of course, Caroline turns out to be wonderfully boring, totally hates me and really did not appreciate the joke about...ah, you get the picture.

"True, I promise never to ask to date any of your friends again."
"That really only leaves Susan..."
"Oh please, not the Susan thing."

The Susan 'thing' for Alison is a big deal. She always goes on about it and is always trying to pair me off with Susan. If Susan ever heard about it she would go nuts. She hates charity dating.

"Well okay, not the Susan thing as you seem to have an aversion to asking out the girl who is obviously perfect for you."
"Thank you."
"So with no Susan that only leaves this."
"Only? Are you sure? It can't have come to this already."

Alison gives me her look again, which is meant to tell me that it has. And I find myself looking at my watch and laughing.

"Speed dating is very trendy."

My interest pricks up when Alison says this. What can I say I'm a little shallow and easily influenced by passing trends and fads.

"Errr, well at least among single people."
"Yeah right."

And I fold my arms, smug marrieds, I swear they are the worst, and now right under my nose my friend Alison, who was the homework help hotline queen at school, has turned into one.

The thing is, I know all about speed dating. Susan has tried to get me to write about it before and Adam has pestered me several times to go along with him. To both parties I have given a firm no as despite all the 'fun' buzz that surrounds it there does also seem to be an air of desperation that goes with it hand in hand. Me? I do many things, but desperation I've just managed to avoid. I know, it’s a shock to me as well.

Conversation with Susan on Speed Dating:

"Gord, how about we commission you to write a feature on speed dating. It's very cool these days. I'm thinking 'Perennially single guy takes speedy route to romance' kind of thing?"
"Perennially single? I am not perennially single."
"Gord you're Mr Perennial 2006. You're the guy with the perennial tattoo and the t-shirt."
"Oh cheers, Suze."
"Sorry Gord, but that does describe you."
"What are you trying to say here?"
"Just that people want to read about people like you - the perennially single type and their efforts at dating."
"Type? Efforts? I'm not liking any of this."
"Yes Gord, that's you, you're a type and you have efforts. Poor efforts, but still efforts. So how about it?"

Susan can be so harsh sometimes.

Conversation with Adam on Speed Dating:

"I think we should go speed dating."
"No, way."
"But I hear the women are really desperate and, well, it's apparently like shooting fish in a barrel."
"Adam you say that like it's a good thing. I'm not sure you're approaching it with the right attitude."
"The right attitude, what are you talking about. I really want to sleep with women, what can I say?"
"Gord, mate, your problem is that you want the big romance and big romance is dead."

"So will you give it a go?" Alison asks.
"I guess. I'm sure it will make Adam happy, he seems to be under the impression that it's the dating equivalent of a sure thing."
"You know, I think it might be."
"Alison?" I say folding my arms.
"I'm just kidding, you'll have fun."

In the evening when I am crashed out on the couch watching Johnny shoot Islamic bad guy types on Socom III on the TV Susan calls me in something of an agitated state. She says she cannot believe that I have agreed to go speed dating with Adam.

"That's an absolutely terrible idea. Gord you shouldn't lower yourself."
"Lower myself? That's really not the kind of response that I was expecting from you."
"I can't believe Alison suggested it. You'll only end up rejected."
"Rejected? I will?"

I'm having second thoughts suddenly. Alison did not talk about rejection. Humiliation and rejection? Oh boy.

"Definitely rejection, it will be demeaning. You know how you have a fear of humiliation, this will be it."
"Are you totally sure about this?"
"Gord, of course I am. I know people who have gone. No one has anything good to say about it."
"I thought it was socially acceptable, I seem to remember you said it was cool."
"Only for the really desperate, and I've never thought of you as the desperate type."
"Well that's a relief."
"So you promise me, you won't go?"
"No problem," I tell her as I hang up.

It's a total lie, of course, Susan is always calling me desperate. It's like one of her catchphrases - "Gord, you are so desperate". I don't know how many times I've heard that other than a lot. I'm definitely going.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 13

When events occur as momentous as what passed with my sister you just have to tell someone. Predictably when I got home last night, after dinner with Sara, Johnny was nowhere to be seen. An absence I think that was definitely planned out well in advance.

To be honest I'm not very angry and really just a little bit grumpy about it. I do grumpy more than angry. I think it's my natural state.

I'd tried Johnny at work earlier this morning, but couldn't get hold of him. I kept getting his PA. I finally sent him a text message: "I don't believe it. You bastard," but I didn't tell him that I was only kidding, which seemed fair enough.

This got his attention and he texted me straight back, "Definitely be back tonight. Let's talk".

Later, I'm typing away doing a little online research when my email pings to tell me I have new mail. The email is from Adam.

'Bad news': - You're not going to believe this but it has finally happened. It really has".

That's all it says. I'm not entirely sure what he's talking about, not 100% at least, but I have a pretty good idea. I email him straight back.

'Re: Bad News: - "You might have bad news, but I was on the receiving end of the weirdest news in the world last night. It involves Johnny and his new woman."

I know that's about all it will take to get Adam straight on the phone and right on cue the phone starts ringing around a minute after I hit send.

"Tell me the details, that guy hardly pauses, how do you think he does it?" Adam says breathlessly.
"Well if you do a survey it's apparently oodles of charm and good looks."
"Yeah, I get that bit, I was talking apart from the obvious."
"Adam there is no apart from the obvious. I thought you knew that."
"Damn, okay hit me with it."
"Okay, but you will never work out who he's been doing it with."

To be honest I feel really bad about that last sentence, 'who he's been doing it with'? I mean really, my grandmother would certainly not approve. I'm not sure my sister would entirely approve either, but that is strictly her problem.

"Not with Susan? You're kidding. I wouldn't have thought she would have gone for Johnny? I didn't think he was her type."
"What you mean good looking and charming? No that isn't Susan's type at all, you dorkomondus, anyway thankfully it isn't Susan."
"Piss off."
"Okay, Vicki?"
"Carolyn - again, already?"
"Adam you're reaching. Use the force."
"I'm clear out of force energy. Okay so put me out of my misery, Who's the lucky girl?"
"My sister."
"Your sister? Oh, that's errr strange."
"Tell me about it."
"But I guess they did...didn't they a while ago?"
"Rumour has it."
"So no big wedding? Damn, we were going to go and there ware going to be bridesmaids."
"Sorry the bridesmaids are off the menu."
"Do you have a plan to deal with this?"
"Of course, I'll use the usual plan and not think about it."
"Good plan. Just don't think about them together getting sticky."
"Oh please. Anyway, what's your bad news? Is it what I think it is?"
"That's right, you will be pleased to hear that it has finally happened. You doubted me and I told you it would and now it has. I have been made redundant."

I know I shouldn't, and I feel bad immediately afterwards, but I laugh when Adam says this. I should say that I laugh for a very good reason as Adam for as long as I can remember has been telling anyone who will listen that he thinks he might be made redundant.

Whenever I have spoken to Adam it was always one of the first thing he says. Some days he didn't even say hello he just started the conversation, by saying "I think I might be made redundant". It's been like his catch phrase and for a while I was surprised it wasn't one of the first thing he said to people when he met them for the first time ("Hi, I'm Adam, I think I might be made redundant").

It got so bad that a few months back at a dinner party I heard him uttering his favourite line at the other end of the table.

"I think I might be made redundant."

I couldn't help myself and I shot back: "Adam is suffering from Premature Redundancy Ejaculation."

I have no idea where the term Premature Redundancy Ejaculation came from, but I think I hit on something as conversation stopped and dozen or so people broke into howls of drunken laughter. Of course I realised if I'd just shouted the word "ejaculation!" loudly it would have had the same effect.

"What are you going to do?"
"In the immediate future? Go to the pub after that I think I'll join you freelancing, but I don't plan to work in my pyjamas."
"Really you should give it ago."
"I'll actually have to go into other people's offices."
"Well you did say you wanted out."
"True, anyway, talking of women?"
"We were?"
"No, but the subject was bound to come up sooner or later. Women we've dated, are dating or want to date."
"True, which category are we talking about today?"
"Number one, blast from the past. Remember Helen?"
"Of course, cute short blonde, I remember having to listen to her whine on for hours about Leon Trotsky and how the guy was her absolute hero. God, I really liked her," I say in a slight reverie.
"Gord, you dumped her?"
"True, but I dump everyone."
"Also true, and about that strategy?"
"I know not so successful. I think I heard that after university she became an investment banker. So much for the revolution."
"She was nice though. She has to come near the top of cutest girls you ever dated."
"You know, I think you're right? Is she single?"
"Dream on dude, former revolutionary investment bankers are never single. I bumped into her having lunch with her husband."
"How bad?"
"Pretty bad. She had pearls, a child and a fellow investment banker husband as well. Full package. Her husband had one of those really square haircuts that people completely lacking style and culture seem to gravitate towards. That's what you call a transformation."
"Damn, I could have saved her."
"Saved her?"
"You know from the pearls and the square haircut."
"Yeah, but to do that you would have actually had to keep going out with her and not dumping her? You get that bit right?"
"Fair point," I concede, "there's always a catch to these things."

Later when Johnny arrives home later I am sitting on the floor, back slumped against the couch, shooting zombies. It's the kind of activity, when I am at a loose end, I often find myself doing, so you know, quite often, in case you were wondering.

I don't even look up when Johnny enters the room. He texted me a minute or before like some rogue agent with the message; "I'm coming in, hold you're fire". See what he's like? He's such a joker and he has a silver Audi TT. There's just no feeling bad about some people.

I did considering giving him a hard time, but I'm really not sure it's worth the effort, besides, I'm only halfway through this level and concentration is paramount. Seriously, these zombies are more trouble then they look.

Johnny stands over me with his hands on his hips.

"Frankly this is disappointing, I had this idea that you would be home waiting for me ready to pounce," Johnny says as he drops his bag down and drops himself into an armchair.
"I considered pouncing damn, but I got distracted."
"Your life is a distraction."
"You mean dream right?"
"Errr, nightmare?"
"Oh that explains last week then, cool I'd been wondering."

We both laugh at this at which point I am gnawed to death by a pack of flesh eating zombies. My life, I tell you.

"Fuck, I can't believe it, dead again."

I throw the control across the floor and lie down flat on the carpet staring up at the ceiling.

"Besides I had other stuff on my mind, you know, as well as pouncing."
"Yeah and about that," Johnny says nodding.
"Johnny mate what have you done? I mean seriously My Sister? Let me say that again, my sister? You realise of course that you've entirely ruined my relationship with her, right?"
"You know we never spoke ...and now."

I throw my hands up in the air. Johnny smiles.

"Yeah awfully sorry, inconsiderate behaviour I know. I swear it was never my intention of bringing you and your sister closer together."
"You say, anyway what's your excuse? Have you suddenly developed a taste for acid tongued blondes?"
"Funny you should say that."
"Yeah, and how funny exactly?"
"Oh pretty funny. I need a beer," he says getting up and walking through to the kitchen.
"Oh there has to be a rule?"
"A rule?"
"Yes, just promise me you will never, and I mean ever, talk about your new relationship with me?"
"Oh and one more thing?"
"One more thing?"
"Yeah, I want to drive your car," I say as I hit the restart button.
"My car? Your driving skills are terrible, I've seen you on GTA."
"Johnny mate?"
"Okay," he says putting his hands in the air, "you can drive my car."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 12

When I arrive at the restaurant Sara is already there and I can see her sitting in the window. There is a bottle of white wine on ice by her table and she already has a glass in front of her.

She doesn't notice me from the street watching her as I walk in through the front door. A waiter in shirt and waistcoat asks if he can help me and all I do is point towards my sister. He nods at me smiles and moves off, weaving his way through the tables, swaying side to side among the young couples all leaning close and talking in muted tones.

"You look like you've been here for a while," I tell her as I sit down.

Sara smiles, doesn't say anything instead she just starts to pour me some wine. She takes a cigarette from her packet of Marlboro Lights and strikes a match.

"Jack hates the smoke. Absolutely hate it," she says.
"That's a healthy attitude, must be the rugger bugger in him. Might be time for you to crush out the filthy habit, to ensure future matrimonial harmony."
"Oh I rather had another solution in mind," Sara says archly.
"So much for young love," I say.
"Now that you mention young love it was rather the subject I wanted to talk about."

Now she really has my interest. This is so unlike my sister.

"I only mentioned it as I had been under the, admittedly daft, impression that you and Jack who are about to be married are desperately in love."

Sara looks at me as if I'm quite mad. She sips on her wine and she shivers as the alcohol goes down. Sara looks away for a moment.

"Okay take a deep breath I'm going to tell you what it is that I brought you here for."

So I do, I take a deep breath.

"There's not going to be any wedding."

I'm not entirely sure that I heard her correctly, but I know damn well that I did. OMG. She is planning to kill my mother after all.

"I've called it off."
"Jesus, are you kidding me?"
"I decided weeks ago."
"But last week our mother was still under the impression that she was master mind of a soon to be Hertfordshire wedding spectacular."
"I know I've been putting it off."
"What were you waiting for? The right moment?"
"After a fashion."
"What fashion?"

My sister smiles at this.

"The non-marriage fashion."
"Jesus how was she?"
"You know really rather good all things considered. She's sort of taken over organising the cancellation."
"Well I guess if you can't actually organise a wedding a wedding cancellation is the next best thing. Just one question though, uh why?"
"I don't want to get married."
"But you said yes?"
"I know and I didn't want to get married then either. If you stay in a relationship for long enough to find out you will realise that you just get bumped along into these things. You reach this point and it suddenly becomes an issue when someone drops down onto one knee..."

I interrupt her. I can't help myself, I'm kind of curious about the whole process.

"Jack got down onto one knee?"
"Looking for tips?"
"Not exactly, I'm just interested, changing mores and attitudes, that's all."
"He did. It was nice, but somehow it only makes it harder to say no. It's hard to make a decision on the spot and even harder to make one on the spot if you have been having nagging doubts."
"But you said yes?"
"I know, I said yes and I said yes because I thought that saying yes was a precursor to breaking up.

I'm stunned, who talks like that? A precursor to breaking up?

"A precursor to breaking up?"
"I wasn't ready for the whole marry me or leave me discussion, which is what it would have become. It was a stupid thing to do. Nobody's perfect," she says dryly.
"Hang on let me get that straight you said yes when Jack asked you to marry him as you thought getting married would be a 'precursor to breaking up'? That makes absolutely no sense, you know that right?"
"Surely you've heard about marriage being the road to divorce?"

Of course I've heard of the road, but only like I've heard of Route 66 and Highway 101. I always thought it was a joke made by couples who were about to take the plunge, but who were nervous as opposed to unwilling.

"I thought I would be able to end it sooner," Sara adds.
"Oh it sort of dragged," and she shrugs as if to say 'oh well'.
"What so that's it. Goodbye and so long Jack?"
"That's right. Jack has hit the road."

I shake my head unable to stop myself smiling as my sister starts to hum 'Hit the road Jack'. My sister? She's a total wag.

"Oh, there's one other thing."
"How can there be more?"
"Oh Gordon there's always more."
"Really? No one said there was going to be more. Let's recap: you've dumped your boyfriend, cancelled your wedding, broke Jack's heart. No, there can't be anymore."
"Oh and yet there...besides you don't even like Jack."
"Hey, that's unfair!"
"The first thing you said to him was 'so you play rugby', and then you proceeded to write him off as a dullard. I can read you like a book."
"Oh yeah what kind?"
"Boys own, of course, so don't try to spin me about Jack."
"Okay, so I wrote him off, but I feel bad about that and I'm re-evaluating my position. Is it too late to be a friend of Jack's?"
"Way too late."
"But I want to stand up at one of those meetings and say 'I was a friend of Jack cruelly dumped by my sister'."
"They do that at funerals Gordon."
"Really? Are you sure? Okay, maybe I'm not ready to be a friend of Jacks."
"I rather thought not."
"So what else is there? I mean what else could you possible do to the guy?"
"It's not about Jack."
"It's not about Jack?"
"No, I met someone else."
"I knew it."
"You did not."

I so didn't, but let's gloss, but I'm sure deep down if I had thought about it I would have known. I would have consulted The Rule Book and TRB says there is always someone else.

"Don't tell me it's a married man?"
"Oh please, he's not married."
"Phew to you, too. Besides I'm only 28 and so far too young to be running around with married men. It's very straight forward, he's single and he's perfectly lovely."

Why on earth is she telling me any of this. She never tells me anything. To be honest, I'm starting to get a slightly uneasy feeling.

"This is nice to hear, but I have to say this sharing is a little unlike you."
"You never ask."
"Okay, you're right and to be honest I wouldn't have told you this time but..."
"Oh there is always a but, did I ever tell you that I have a thing about buts? No one ever says, but 'there's good news as well'."
"Very true."
"I know I am not going to like this. Am I? I mean on a scale of one to ten?"
"Well I'd say eleven."
"Eleven? Oh boy."
"Okay if you insist."

I have a sudden change of heart and start waving my arms in front of her face like I am trying to stop traffic.

"No wait hang on a sec. I think I'd like it better if you let me down gently. Give me a clue."
"A clue? Okay, let's see. Oh I know, Johnny and I have been sleeping together."

Somehow as bright as Sara is I don't think she understands the concept of the clue.

"Sara, that's not a clue. That's the whole truth."

And I'm about to say something along the lines of that she can't be sleeping with Johnny as he's only just become single and he's my new flat mate when I just think about how he was in the pub the other evening. So cagey. Johnny is an absolute dog.

"Oh Sara really, I like my friends separate from family."
"Oh, but Gordon, you know I don't consider us family. You know I've always said we're both adopted."
"Well, there's not need to worry I'm not quite ready for another wedding just yet. "
"I don't believe it, we share a flat and I only said to him the other day I hardly see him, man, but you on the other hand, I guess you can account for his 'lost days', right?"
"Only the nights I'm afraid," Sara says smirking.
"Oh please, I get it, you're funny, but really stop."
"Look, don't you have any of your own friends? I mean what has it come to if you're dating my friends?"
"I know, and you have a very good point there. I never thought it would come to this. It's as much a surprise to me as it is to you. You never struck me as the kind of person who would have attractive friends."

I then have a shocking thought. There are definitely going to have to be some rules.

"Look there's a rule, okay?"
"Yeah, already. You cannot possibly stay at my flat. I mean no way."
"Gordon about that rule?"


"Jesus, okay, so there's no rule, fine," I say crossing my arms and throwing my arms in the air.
"No rule is definitely better."