Tuesday, August 05, 2003

JB Rivers, Hyde Park

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * 1/2
Babe Count: * * * *

It's an uncharacteristically sparse night in Hyde Park with regards to babeage. In fact, JB Rivers is relatively empty. I've just put the phone down to Damon, telling him I won't be meeting him and Wendy in the smoky gunge of Nuno's in Melville. It's just too much for me.

Instead, I'll sit here and draw for a bit. Jacqui's been hectic at work, and we've been seeing each other every day for the last while, and it's all just in overload territory right now. We love each other dearly, and we're each certain that the other is our dream-partner, but Jacqui really needs some recharge time. Which is cool for me, but really quite tough, since I'm craving her every second of my life.

Which is why I'm here moping, feeling vulnerable, holding myself to the chair so I don't jump into my car and head for her place. Sigh. Love is gorgeous. But it can definitely allow me access to my own inner anxiety.

Wait a seccie. Maybe Eran's around. "Hey, Eran," I say into the cellphone, "I'm in Hyde Park. You joining me?"

Edward's one of the waiters at JB Rivers. Every time I pitch there, the waiters all ask me to draw them. This time, I figure it's best to get them off my back by caving in to their requests. My theory is that they'll take one look at the mutilation I wreak on their likeness, and they'll never ask me again. After showing this to Edward, he was silent for several seconds. Then he rubbed his shaved head and said, "This one... is this my head???""Hold on," he says. A bit of a hand over a receiver, some muffled discussions. "Cool," he says. "I'm just finishing something at home, and then I'll see you in about half an hour. Can Jade come?" A female snigger.

"I don't know," I say. "If you do it right, I suppose she can."

I finish my customary chicken salad and read a third of my latest book-find. It's called THE MILLIONAIRE COURSE by Marc Allen. He's a musician and an artist, and he's made his millions several times over through following his own advice. Things like being clear about your vision, knowing what wealth means to you, having and living your higher purpose. And the book's a practical way of getting those things. A proper workshop. I'm thinking of getting a couple of friends together to work through the exercises together. I want my friends all to be millionaires with me.

When I see Jacqui on Friday, I'll show her the book.

Jeez. Two hours have passed. Where the hell's Eran? I send him an SMS. "I'm finishing my coffee. Where are you?"

He sends one back. "Just leaving Sandton. You still going to be there?"

"I'll wait for you," I SMS back.

While I'm waiting, I start sketching someone. I become aware of a scratchy tenor voice behind my right ear, a metre or two away. It's going, "Hey..." cough, cough, "uh... hey? Uh... yeah, uh, scuse me...?"

I turn. It's a youngish dude with greasy hair, and bright red eyes. I think he's a citizen of Stonedville. This one's soaring. He's sitting at a table behind me. "Yes?" I say.

Cough, cough, cough. "Uh, sorry, man, sorry to interrupt you. What are you doing, huh?"

I can't believe he's asking what I'm doing. I have an open pot of ink to my left. I have a dripping Maped Ruling Pen in my left hand. I have an open sketchbook before me. There is a caricature of a woman on the end of the pen. What does this stoner THINK I'm doing? Fixing cars? Baking bread?? "I'm sketching," I say.

"Oh," he says. "I sell advertising space. For an interior design magazine. You know, for interior designers. For the trade. I sold R75 000 this month. Next month I hope to sell R125 000." Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough.

I'm glad this guy's at the next table. I could get a blob of lung lodged in my neck if I were any closer.

He says, "So, you an artist?"

"Yes," I say. I'm doing the monosyllabic reply thang. Maybe he'll just shut up and head off into the cold to warm his ruined lungs on another joint.

"My name's Shaun," he says. "What's yours?"


"Please to meet you. Can I ask you a favour?"

I stay silent. I know what he's going to ask.

"Can you draw me?"I don't INTEND to exaggerate things in my caricatures. Things sorta leap out at me and take over my pen. I think it's truthful to say that my pen was basically channeling Shaun's nose.

Go home to Creepsville! Instead of saying that, I say, "Sure. But this is a hardbound book, and I don't ever tear my sketches out. So I'll draw you, but you can't have it."

"No, that's cool." Cough, cough, cough.

"That's a nasty set of lungs you've got there Shaun." I start drawing him. Quite an interesting subject. Desperately chiseled features. And quite a few young wrinkles. This dude's no older than about 24, but his skin's a ruin. Must be smoking.

"I almost never sit out here in the non-smoking section," he says. "But I've given up for three days." Hack, cough, cough, cough. "Whenever I do that, my lungs just rebel."

I show him the sketch.

"Hey!!!" he says. "Hey, check at this!" He's talking to two women who've just sat down, increasing the babe-count marginally for the night. "This guy's an artist. He sketched me. Hey man, Roy, that's excellent man."

He doesn't ask me if he can have it. Cos I've already turned my back on him, and I'm drawing Edward, my waiter.

Shaun tries to get my attention a few times, but I ignore him. I hear him engage the two women. "Hey," he says, "hey, I'm Shaun, what are your names? I sell advertising in an interior design magazine. I'm quite arty. I'm only twenty-two. How old are you?"

They ignore him. He shuts up.

Jade and Eran arrive just as Edward calls last rounds. Coffee it is. And because of Jade, the love of Eran's life, there's a babe count at last! Yay!!! Jade gets five stars. Unfortunately, since there's only one of her, and a large restaurant, the overall babe count only rises to four stars. But that's okay. Two photos of Jacqui are next to my bed, so when I get home, I've got a babe count all of my own.

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