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As we all enter a new decade, it’s a great time to clear out not only the clutter from your home, but also to say a permanent ‘See you later’ to those dead end relationships that only make you huff and puff and question your own sanity.
Why, I thought to myself, are you still friends with any man who doesn’t leave you smiling, or who has no positive effect on you whatsoever. So now in 2020 I’m taking steps to end those toxic relationships that drain the life out of you, and this one was the first to go.
After another ‘you couldn’t make it up’ lunch with this gentleman acquaintance, I took the easy decision of blocking him from my phone and ending all points of contact. Sounds harsh, but here’s why…..
I’ve known, (let’s call him) Jim – surprisingly not his real name, – around 10 years. Quite an attractive man, tall, carries himself well, and wouldn’t look out of place in an East End car lot.
In a different life, he might have been a would be member of a Kray type mob. Back in the day that is.
An ex publican, plenty of chat, with a mouth that makes appointments for ‘mature man’ fisticuffs, that his body wouldn’t ever actually be able to keep.
But nevertheless, we shared a passion for red wine, warm climates, and long discussions about deciding what to do in our retirement.
But unfortunately for ‘Jim’, over the years, at times he’s not been a very nice friend, and whilst I’ve given him several second chances, this time, there was no point.
The last time I even spoke to ‘Jim’ was in 2015. He had promised to collect some furniture for me, and I was relying on him to deliver it to a new place I was renting.
As you can imagine, the actual moving part of all this was stressful enough, but to have him let me down quite spectacularly at the very last minute, tipped me over the edge.
I didn’t contact him again, or return any of his calls or texts. Until December 2019.
Out of the blue he text to ask how I was, and that he’d like to buy me lunch to catch up. And being the nosey bird that I am, I DID want to know what life had thrown at him during the 4 silent years. But nothing more than that. So I accepted the invite.
Lunch was arranged for 1.30. My heart sank at his choice of venue, a fast food pub, but I didn’t intend to stay there too long. Quick drink, quick lunch, quick catch up, done. Maybe for another 4 years!
‘Jim’ arrived in the car park at the same time as me. A vision approached me, in a long gold coloured Colombo style (flasher) Mac and hugs were exchanged. I grabbed a table, he went to the bar to order drinks. So far, so good.
But, it went downhill from there. Without even exchanging pleasantries, my lunch date ceremoniously plonked 2 G & T’s on the table and launched into a mega speech, which should have come with a warning.
The opening statement was ‘well, I’ve been thinking,… we aren’t getting any younger, and what I think we should do is………’ it was as if I’d only seen him the day before, not 4 YEARS before!
For all he knew, I could have met the love of my life, and got married. Unlikely, but he didn’t even wait to find out if I’d even had any meaningful relationships in all this time.
The diatribe continued for many minutes, with him telling me how we should pool our resources, and go off to Spain together and run a bar.
Oh and if it had rooms above it, I could maybe run an Airbnb. ( as I’m already an Airbnb Superhost, this was the most sensible part of his suggestion). He had it all worked out, and I really couldn’t get a word in edgeways. He was on a roll.
Within all this, we had ordered some ‘fast’ food. As I’d looked at the menu, I’d mentally made a note of what he would order, and I wasn’t wrong, the cheapest item, as always.
As an ex publican, he knows exactly where the food has been bought from, and his choice is dictated not by what he likes, or fancy’s, but what HE is paying for it, simply because he knows what the pub has paid for it. But he thinks I don’t know this!
I listened patiently, he didn’t pause for breath, whilst he put a price on all the belongings he would sell, and instructed me to start saving, so we could make our escape. At last he stopped, and threw an uninterested ‘ So how have you been…..’ in my direction. Ah, I thought, my turn to talk, your turn to listen.
With that, ”Jim’ turned and took his mobile phone out of his Flasher Mac pocket, and proceeded to scroll through it, as only uninterested people do, and became completely engrossed, occasionally glancing my way and giving me a cursory, ‘Yeah, I’m listening’……..actually mate, you definitely are not.
It was the most bizarre lunch date I’ve endured in a long time, and trust me, I’ve endured quite a few. A man who was nothing more than an occasional ‘friend’, who I hadn’t seen, or spoken to for 4 years, sat in front of me virtually dictating what WE should do, without pausing for breath. No niceties, no catch up, no verbal foreplay, just straight in wham bam……..but actually, NO THANK YOU MAN!
How arrogant, how presumptuous, how rude and completely oblivious to what he was doing.
Normally, I’d linger over a coffee, enjoy the chat, and be interested in what someone had been up to in the 4 years since I’d last spoken to them. But once I could see that this was just a load of self centred clap trap, I made my excuses, thanked him for a lovely ( it was not) meal, and left.
To give you some idea of how quickly I made my own escape, I arrived at the pub at 1.30pm, I was back home with a cup of tea at 3.00, and 15 minutes of that was journey time!
Quite some ‘speed date’ then…..!