Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Nasal Assault at the Greasy Spoon

Posted by Lex Fear on November 29, 2005

Today, as part of The Clown’s initiative, I was out with one of our account managers visiting customers. Not that I didn’t want to be doing that, I’d normally jump at the opportunity to spend a day away from my desk. However it’s the thought of the full Inbox and piling up of requests that makes me less than ecstatic.

The account manager, let’s call her ‘Megan’, was a full-bodied but well dressed, well presented person, till we got to her BMW. On climbing in I was hit by the waft of, what I could only surmise was, the smell of last nights fish and chip take-away. Ok, I thought, so maybe Megan was busy yesterday and didn’t have time to go home for a proper meal, she just bought a bag of chips and ate them in the car. We’ve all committed that sin often enough, so fair enough. The morning went slow but OK, then it came to lunch. Lunch was where I discovered perhaps the cars’ smell of stale grease was not the forgivable irregularity, in the life of an otherwise average sanitary individual, that I had assumed it was.

After mulling over what we fancied for lunch, Megan spotted “Bobs Cafe”, a greasy spoon sandwiched between a local newsagent and pizza take-away in the middle of a terrace of local shops. A place, by the look of it from the outside, I would normally avoid for sanitary reasons. Already as we got out of her car and approached my stomach began to turn at the thought of what we may find. “If it doesn’t look nice we’ll leave and go somewhere else” Megan assured me. As we entered through the PVC door of the cafe, it was at this point that I discovered that my interpretation of something ‘looking nice’ differed vastly from Megan’s. The first thing to hit you walking in was the the cigarette smoke, combined with the smell of the cold stale grease of a thousand sausages gone before.

As I tried to change my stomach setting from ‘spin’ to ‘rinse and hold’, we ordered our all day breakfasts. It was then I remembered the call of nature, and therefore inquired as to the availability of a WC. I was informed that one was installed, and that it was “Just back there, love” by the lovely toothless lady I’ll call ‘Norma’. On reaching the Males toilet, I discovered it occupied and made my way back to the front.
“Did you find it, love?” Norma blared.
“Yes, but it’s occupied” I replied sullenly.
“Oh that’ll be Brian, oh dear, it will probably smell, use the ladies if you like”
Although it was a kind (if unrefined) gesture, I declined as the door to the gents was opening. Out stepped old Brian with a grey beard, and a hook instead of a hand. Now I know it’s not PC, but for some reason odd thoughts came into my mind about the hook and attending to his business in the toilet, which I immediately dismissed. Instead I braced for the aroma I was about to confront upon entering the rudimentary lavatory. Oddly enough there was no smell, in fact, rather amazingly, it’s the only cafe/restaurant I have ever been to for which I can declare that the toilets smelt fresher than the actual place of eating.

By now, my nasal passages had adapted to the redolence of Bobs Cafe and I sat down with Megan who had lit up her 3rd cigarette today. “I normally don’t come to places like this” she confided. Yeah right.

At this point along came Norma with our breakfasts, placing them on the table. Now I don’t always give thanks before my meals, but you can bet your right arm I was blessing the provision before me right now. “Bless this food Lord. Please don’t let me get food poisoning, or something worse”. I picked up my knife and fork, about to partake of my breakfast plate, when Norma stopped me in my tracks, interjecting in her blazon style:
“Did he make it smell bad, did he?”


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