Curb your Enthusiasm

15 Feb

Last night I was treated to a wonderfully romantic surprise – a seafood and champagne supper in a beautifully secluded manor house restaurant in leafy north London. It also came with the unexpected comedy bonus of being sat next to a man quite clearly channeling Larry David.

Somewhere between the lobster brisque and the salmon in oyster sauce I overheard him rather triumphantly congratulating himself on his choice of soiree while his partner nibbled at the only remaining half a breadstick in their bread basket that he hadn’t scoffed yet.

Then their talk turned to family.

“… and of course we were all so devastated when grandma died,” said Mrs Larry David.

“I didn’t know you in those days,” he replied.

“You did – you came to her funeral!” she answered.

A lesser man may well have been stumped by this. It’s not every day you accidentally admit to your spouse that the time you shared their grief over the death of a close relative has utterly erased itself from your memory.

Not this guy.

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “That was your grandmother!”

Great recovery. I wonder whose funeral he thought it was at the time? As they were a Jewish couple presumably he also sat Shivah for a week steeped in prayer and nostalgia for this mysterious dead woman who had suddenly appeared in his life. You’ve got to admit, that takes guts.

I missed the next bit as our next courses arrived, giving The Husband and I the opportunity to entertain ourselves by trying to figure out where on the plate the chef had hidden a vegetable concoction exotically described on the menu as “broccoli mousse” (turned out he’d forgotten it. Maybe he was equally engrossed by the drama on the next table).

Speaking of which, North London’s answer to Larry David could potentially have saved himself when the bill arrived – but of course he didn’t.

“Okay well…. how shall we do this? You had that Bellini…”

“I didn’t bring any money,” began Mrs D. “You told me not to…”

A withering stare ensued.

“You didn’t. Bring. Any. Money,” he repeated as the realisation sank in. “No money at all?”

“You said not to,” repeated Mrs D (fair play to her). “So no, I didn’t.”

“But…. the Bellini…” he muttered before composing himself with the world’s weariest sigh, the type I generally reserve for the kind of occasion when I’ve completed a 14 hour babycare marathon only to discover we haven’t got any HobNobs in.

“It’s fine – I can cover it, just about,” he eventually concluded (like he had any choice in the matter), although he was still clearly tortured by the ghost of that solitary Bellini which had contemptuously burst his budget without even touching his lips.

“Happy Valentines’ Day,” I whispered as they left.

The woman rolled her eyes.

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One Response to “Curb your Enthusiasm”

  1. The Coffee Table Years February 16, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    I love a little friction over a romantic Valentine’s Day meal, but this really walks away with the award for most hilarious encounter over the dinner table. Shame she didn’t order two bellinis (as I would have done) and really stick it to him.

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