After several days of failed attempts to psyche myself up to ask Mystery Sandwich Girl out for a drink, I decided that today was going to be the day, dammit. A real “GO BACK IN THERE, ARTHUR PEWTEY” moment. All week something’s been not quite right, like there was a big queue of people standing behind me, or the other sandwich shop lady was standing there next to her. Today it was not going to happen. I had a plan. Not quite on par with The Italian Job, but still involving a good deal more thought than I put into most things.
It was all set – I wandered in at 2:30, after the rush hour. I was starving. I ordered my sandwich & espresso from her at the counter, and in a break from routine I went over & sat down at one of the tables. Perfect – she would come over, and as she dropped the chicken, spinach & bacon bap off I’d smile and say, “Hi, what time do you finish work? I’d really like to take you out for a drink”.
In my peripheral vision I could see her getting everything together. Here we go… Oh bollocks, what’s that?
My phone starts ringing.
I answer the phone, and it’s a guy making enquiries about booking our morris dancing team. I try to answer his questions as quickly as possible without being abrupt or rude, but as we’re still at about conversational midpoint, Mystery Sandwich Girl appears at my right shoulder with a big smile, a sandwich, and an espresso, which she places on the table along with some serviettes, and then disappears.
Backup plan swings into action.
Having anticipated FAIL on phase 1, I had taken the precaution of ensuring I had a reason to stay at my table – a 60 page printout of tech articles to study intently and take notes all over. Foolproof – I’d sit there with an obviously empty plate, and she’d come over to collect it, at which point the asking out could take place.
Almost an entire frigging hour I sat there nonchelantly studying this damn printout, and only then did a head & shoulders appear from behind me – it was the other coffee lady. Mystery Sandwich Girl had disappeared!