Late for lunch

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One thing you might not know about me is that I am a punctual person. This is a recent phenomenon, rearing its head about the same time that I became obsessed with the weather forecast, and when I started selecting clothing based on whether it would crush or not. It is called getting old. And I am there.

Yesterday I went out to lunch with 3 very dear, and long-term friends. We have been through births, deaths, babies, marriages and divorces together. There is nothing sacred with this lot.

I turned at 12.15pm on the dot, only to be told I was the first of my party to arrive. We had come together for a very premature gathering to celebrate my upcoming 43rd birthday. I had chosen a French restaurant, the type of place that I quickly realised that was popular for large gatherings of multi-generational families to get together to celebrate Grandma’s birthday. In the punters came, out of the cold and spied me sitting alone at the table. Sat there I did, with nothing to do as I waited for my mates. Of course I had left my phone at home, so I didn’t even know how long I had been waiting.

It felt like an eternity. The waitress kept coming up to me, asking if I would like a drink. “Sparking or tap water?”. And then it hit me.

I was having a Carrie moment. Remember when she went to that restaurant to celebrate her birthday and she sat there, and sat there, and sat there and nobody turned up? This was me. I started to feel woozy with panic, for you see I might be very punctual, but I am also well-known for turning up at the right time at the right place, but on the wrong day.

I went to check my phone so I could check that I had the right day. Fuck.. that’s right. No phone. So I continued to sit there, watching people greeting each other warmly as they arrived to dine. I did a few things to take my mind of the fact that my mates were fucking bitches. I did a wallet audit. I sorted out the lipsticks in my bag. I found a bit of paper and a pen and started writing a few notes, just to look busy and unbothered by the fact that I was sitting alone. The menu was studied with angst, as I was starving. I ate a teaspoon of delicious salty butter and drank more water.

Eventually the three of them turned up and I told them off. The Divine Ms M looked at her watch and told me to get over myself, as they were only 16 minutes late. Then they gave me the card pictured above and told me that the middle kid looked exactly like I did when I was ten. Then I read the card, which said, Happy Birthday our darling, beautiful girl/old fart. If you don’t like the present, fucking give it back!

I also got a can of coke, as I do every year, because fifteen years ago we were all in Thailand on my birthday and Mrs. Finlayson asked me, as I lay on a lounge next to the pool, what I would like for my birthday and I asked for a Diet Coke. So now, every year, this is what she gives me. Then we ate like pigs at the trough and took the piss out of each other in the way that only old friends can do.

Are you a stickler for time?

Ever turned up on the wrong day?

Ever been stood up?