I am meeting my new friend for dinner and a show. I have ‘borrowed’ this new friend from my Mother, whose paucity of friends makes this pretty inexcusable. Nevertheless, I am chaining my bike outside the restaurant, and popping into the box office to pick up our tickets. I realise as soon as I enter the restaurant that I am too hot, so begin an elaborate winter-layer striptease, handing over jumpers and scarves to the bewildered waiter. I place our theatre tickets on the table, and pop to the loo. (I realise once I am on the loo that theatre tickets are eminently stealable. I am panicked. I barely touch the fancy hand moisturizer). On my return, the waiter is still there (though he has disinvested himself of my delightfully fashionable outer-wear. I assume he has hung it all somewhere. Or perhaps he has sold it. Oh gosh. What if he’s made a voodoo doll using DNA scraped off my clothes?
I surreptitiously test my limb freedom by raising my left arm slowly. The waiter looks at me and I cunningly turn it into a wave at the very last second. The last thing I wish to do is anger the voodoo-making waiter). I sit down carefully.
My new friend arrives. We are seated at a banquette, which means one of us gets to recline in comfort, and the other one of us gets a normal chair. ‘You sit on that side,’ I say generously. ‘I know old people like the comfy side.’
Things are going splendidly. I imagine by Christmas I will have appropriated all of my Mother’s friends. (Please see earlier comment. 3 and a half weeks is perfectly adequate to steal the remaining 4). We order vast quantities of food. I am thrilled. My new friend doesn’t drink, so I order a particularly expensive alcoholic beverage for myself (to even things out).
During our meal I entertain my new friend with tales from my life, carefully chosen to highlight my best qualities. ‘And then I said something so absolutely hilarious that the whole room erupted in laughter! I tried not to let it phase me though, of course.’ (This is a good one because it shows me as both witty and modest). Sometimes my new friend tries to speak, but I interrupt her often enough to show that this is not my idea of a good conversation.
I request the bill (I like to draw different famous people’s signatures in the air when requesting restaurant bills. This time I used a quill, and was William Shakespeare) so my new friend pays.
(It’s like the cooking/ washing-up divide. You only need to do half. Please pass this on, it’s saved me a great deal of trouble). We walk across the street to the theatre. As I pre-emptively tell my new friend what ice-cream she should buy me at interval, I know this is a friendship that is going to last.