Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Swansea: The Greatest Generation (at leaving doors open)

We had a date with the esteemed Dr. Rich, and so time being of the essence, we dined in the hotel pub. One of the chief joys of dining in the hotel where you're staying is putting the meal on your bill, which allows you to pretend you're getting you're meal/beers for free, until the next day when you check out. In this case, it also partly (though only partly) made up for the lack of room service breakfast. Anyway, some of us had burgers, meat or veggie, and some of us didn't. The fries were excellent. We sat in a corner near the glass wall that overlooked the glorious parking lot. in the middle of this glass wall, just behind my chair, was an emergency exit.

Have we mentioned the golf? Because there were loads of dudes staying in our hotel who were very obviously "here for the golf." They were United States of Americans. They were well-fed. They were, like many golf enthusiasts, also cigar enthusiasts. Of course, like most of the rest of the world, you can't smoke inside in Wales, so the cigar enthusiasts needed to step outside to light up. They chose the emergency exit as their most natural way out. These guys were like water: the path of least resistance. Honestly, I don't blame them for using this exit, but once one of them decided to use that means of egress, an evening of consternation (for me) and hilarity (for Jon, Dr. Matt and the couple sitting at the table next to us) ensued.

For some reason, these guys found three things impossible:

1) Moving in and/or out as a group;
2) Staying either in or out for more than five seconds;
3) Closing the fucking door.

This behavior is what would lead my family to label these dudes, "Midnights", after our late if-she's-in-she-wants-to-be-out-and-if-she's-out-she-wants-to-be-in mutt. I could've dealt with the constant in and out by the Cigar-smoking Golf United States of Americans, had they just been able--let me emphasize this--
to close the motherfucking door behind them. Of this they were not capable. The first time I simply took a half-step out of my seat and closed the door myself. The second time I did the same. The third time I was a little more exasperated in my door-shuttage. By the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and/or eighth times, my exasperation was cut with open and vocal hostility.

The last man in let the door flap unclosingly behind him, then stopped and noticed it hadn't shut, returned, closed it, looked over at our table (where I was shaking uncontrollably with rage/exasperation/nationalistic shame) and said, "I know, stupid Americans, right?" It was charming, let it be said, but all I could muster was the bitterest of smiles and a muttered, "You don't know the goddamned half of it." Jon and Matt were helpless with glee at my rage; the couple next to us laughing hilariously.

I stood and sang.

Then we went to meet the distinguished Dr. Rich and drink some Irish-brand stout.

Eschewing the temptations of taxis, we decided to walk to the pub. Now remember, it was a Saturday night in Swansea, and we were travelling light. So we weren't necessarily dressed for it. Doug might have got away with his t-shirt and 3/4 length trouser combo in Honolulu, but not here.

We approached the pub. I was conscious of Doug's attire, but had neglected to pay attention to what Matt was wearing. I prayed silently that he had binned the snood/cravat that he'd been sporting for most of the trip, an article of clothing which, when combined with his Rapha wardrobe, made him look like a camp member of the Gestapo. All he needed was a monocle.

Happily, he'd stopped wearing it. Unhappily, the locals spotted Doug. Comments were muttered under breath, our sexuality was questioned, we scampered inside, hoping for sanctuary, or at least a seat. Neither were forthcoming....

....look, frankly, I've no idea where this one is going. No one beat us up, but they did look at us askance, and we didn't feel super comfortable being totally underdressed in a pub where everyone was in their gladrags. So we left and went to a quieter pub, and three of us talked about football while the other one dreamed of lemon drizzle cake.


PS - oh, and in the first pub there was a bloke in the corner who looked like he was setting up karaoke, but it was the selfish kind where he just sings Rat Pack songs and doesn't let anyone else have a go. Don't know who that man was, but could that man be...


  1. Sartorial footnote: It was a Buff. AFAIK, I left my Liberty's silk neckerchief behind.