This evening I went out to eat. A group of us meet at a fairly local restaurant once a month from April to November and have dinner together. This has been running for about ten years, though the membership has varied somewhat, and was set up by a friend who is the retired headmistress of a girls’ private school in Surrey. She is a born organiser and everything is planned to the nth degree.
She was not there tonight, as she only returned today from a holiday, so she had delegated the organisation to one of our number, who is a near neighbour of hers. On several previous occasions I’ve deputised, and in this event I promptly chuck the rules out of the window and allow modest middle-age/class mayhem. But the new deputy was flattered and impressed by the immensity of the responsibility, and we toed the line. To an extent.
I watched myself, as if from a height, playing to an audience. I made ’em laugh. I made ’em wonder what I was on (sober as a sober person, m’lud). I teased and flattered. I never know quite what comes over me when that happens. Although we are a sociable lot, my end of the table was more reserved and I know that I start just to get the conversation going, to relax people. But some of them don’t know me very well (we’ve recently changed restaurants, which changed the geographic circle of members somewhat) and, I can’t help wondering, do they think I’m really like that? For, as you know, I am really very well behaved and a modest little thing.
It’s pouring tonight. Raining Pugsleypuss and Oz.