Monday, 30 July 2007

... as the cartoonist said to the actress

First posted on here last week, was then taken down to add a few bits at the end (in italics).

So, one Wednesday a week or so ago, a friend of mine was doing a gig with her band after work, and instead of going all the way home and all the way back just to drop off my stuff, I decided to go to the Tate Modern, then maybe a pub before the gig.

Well, the Tate closes at six, so instead I sat on the grass outside the entrance. I noticed this attractive woman sitting nearby, but didn’t think too much of it. I got out my sketchbook and did some writing.

Then she gets up and walks over to me and asks if I have another black pen. As it happens I normally do have two black pens, so I said yes and started to look through my bag. In the end I found a blue pen, so I took that and gave her my black one.

"Thanks," she said, "here’s 60p." and she gave me some money. I was so surprised that I forgot to refuse the money, and just dumbly said thank you.

Then I sat there, thinking "actually, she is very attractive", and I decided that if I was going to talk to her, this would be the best time. I wondered what I could say and it occurred to me that I should really give the money back. It was a bit ungallant to accept it in the first place. So I went over and offerred to return the cash, she said no, and we kind of out-polited each other for a bit before she said I should put it in a charity box. I said "good idea", and then asked if she wanted to go for a drink sometime. She said yes, that’d be great.

Amazing! We exchanged numbers and I said I’d give her a call. I asked if she was in the country for long and she replied "yes and no". I figured that I didn’t understand what that meant, but I could find out later on.

I told my housemate about it and he did the usual "oh, don’t call the next day, you’ll seem too keen" thing, but if I didn’t call the following day I’ll end up calling during the weekend which I didn’t want to do. He also said I should contact her first via email, and that’s crazy! Plus, I spoke to his girlfriend and she told me he never waited a couple of days before calling her. If you’re going to give advice, it should at least be advice you follow yourself, no?

Anyway, next day I called at about half six-ish. No reply, so I left a message saying I’d call again later. Which I did, again no reply, left another message. A bit of an anti-climax. Friday, I didn’t call, and on Saturday I called for the third time and ended up leaving a third message.

So I thought I’d send an email as a last gasp effort. It came back undelivered. Now I was upset, since she’d clearly given me the wrong contact info. Definitely a snub. End of story, I think.Except on Sunday I had nothing to do and so started thinking about her again. One last call, I figured. That’s all. This time someone picked up! I heard a lot of noise like somebody fumbling with the phone in a bag, then a faint voice saying "booyakasha" and then the line went dead.

Well, that was weird. The voice was so faint I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. I thought I should call again, but thought I’d better not use my phone in case the number was a give away. I decided to try one of those public telephone box things that you see people use in old films. I went out, and the first one I saw was just dead – no tone, no display, nothing. The second phone box had a tone, but the slot for coins was jammed shut. The third one I found wasn’t a phone box at all, and was instead a novelty feature in somone’s front garden! By now, I was somewhat disheartened. Happily the fourth one (out by Sainsbury’s) worked, so I called. No surprises there: no reply. Didn’t leave a message.

Well, then, I figured since I’m not going to meet her again, I may as well try and find out who she was. I put her name into google, and after a bit of searching find out that she’s an actor and author! That’s nice. The play she was in had just finished it’s run a few days before, so I wondered if she was even still in the country (which I guess explains the "yes and no" comment). I noticed that her stage name was an abbreviation of her full name, so I thought "nothing to lose" and sent an email to her stage name at gmail. It didn’t bounce back, but then I got no reply and besides, I’ve no way of knowing if it reached the right person.

Despite this sense of not knowing what happened, I managed to achieve some kind of closure yesterday when I bought a black biro to replace the one she bought off me. In fact, I bought two. And as I walked out of the newsagent, I asked myself, why did I just buy two pens?

Did I think the same thing might happen again?

So that was the state of play until Wednesday last week. I went into my email to do some tidying up and I noticed, to a mixture of horror and regained hope, that I’d spelt her name wrong in the email address. I quickly sent off another email, which didn’t bounce back. I also decided to take down the post describing this whole sorry situation in case (a) of new amazing developments or (b) she read it and thought I was just plain weird. Alas, the new email received no reply, and the last hope for a happy, or even satisfactory, ending vanished. Oh well. Such is life

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