Thursday, March 11, 2004

Mugg & Bean, Cresta

Thursday, March 11, 2004

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

My t-shirt is a little clammy. That's because I've just gotten out of the Virgin Active gym down across the parking lot, seconds before closing time. That's cos I got there late, due to having been at work late. But hey. I'm dedicating myself to getting to gym three times a week now.

Back at the gym there was a pleasant dude in the changeroom who turns out to be a property development construction mogul. We got to chatting cos of the good-natured grunts and groans he was making while changing.

"Rough workout?" I ask.

"Two hours," he says. "Arms and stomach. Yesterday I overdid it a bit."

Two hours! Jeepers! The longest I've stayed in gym has been two hours, but an hour of that was over a cup of Kauai coffee!!!

He tells me he makes his living by building places like shopping centres, holding them for a few years, and then selling them at a profit. I ask him if we can get together so I can pick his brain. I've been taking tentative steps in this direction for some time now, spurred mostly by the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books.

"I'm rushing to get to the rowing machine before this place closes," I say. "My name's Roy, by the way."

"Jeff," he says, and we shake hands.

I write his name and number down in my notebook. And yup, I carry it with me wherever I am. If I don't have my palmtop and my notebook with me, you know there's something really odd happening in my life. "I'll sms you my business card later, and we can connect," I say. He's happy with this, and I rush for the rowing machine.

Which is why I'm sweatily sitting in Mugg & Bean picking at their smoked chicken salad, and sipping at the biggest strawberry juice in the world. Mugg & Bean likes big.

The salad is unfortunately sub-standard. The chicken slices a quite thick, and it's from some kind of pressed loaf, which has a gristly rind which hasn't been removed. It squeeks against my teeth when I chew. But I'm hungry, and it's okay. And the honey mustard dressing makes up for it.

I call my brother, who's in town from the Transkei (or whatever it's called these days). He's doing some wheeler-dealing, and leaves on Sunday. So I arrange to have breakfast with him on Saturday. "Gimme a call on my cell at about ten," he says. "I sleep on the Buddhist principle. Sleep when I need. Wake up when I wake up."

I call my mom. Her cellphone's broken, and the only way to use it is with one of those walk & talk handsfree earpieces. Which means that all the ambient noise in Mugg & Bean is amplified on her side. "Who's laughing like that???" she says.

I have to look around to know what she's talking about. Some dude at a table about ten metres away is chortling. I tell my mom how far away he is. "It's Joburg," she says. "Everyone lives so fast there. You should move to Cape Town. Much more laid back."

She tells me about being rained in, and unable to get into Port St Johns in the morning. The roads are made of clay, which, as one might guess if one were a qualified civil engineer, is extremely slippery when wet. So she can't travel. Very frustrating for her, cos she lives on top of a very, very, very big hill (someone from Joburg might call it a mountain; someone from Holland would be unable to call it anything at all, since no Dutch references exist for such tall things). And there are lots of big hills between her and Port St Johns. And her car literally slides down the roads.

I tell her about the situation between me and Jacqui. I'm not all that sure I understand it myself. We went to our second couples therapy session on Tuesday, and it was very hard for me. Basically, Jacqui needs space. Lots of it. She's willing to see me twice a week for the next while... once at couples therapy, and then a Friday movie date, or something of equivalent lightness.

There are two parts of me that respond to this request. The pleasing, logical side of me, the part that says, "Roy, there's a beautiful relationship here waiting to be healed!", absolutely agrees to whatever request Jacqui makes. The vulnerable, damaged, scared side of me says, "What the hell is WITH this woman!!??? Is she insane? Has she lost touch with reality??? How did I go to sleep one night blissfully in love with her and her with me, and wake up the next morning seeing her twice a week????"

My mom says, "She's got beautiful, kind eyes." She's looking at the photo I sent her in a book parcel.

I say goodnight, and an sms comes through. "Roy why the word love?" says Jeff, the property mogul. I had sent him my details, and signed off with my habitual and regular "Blue skies, love, Roy" signature. He's probably freaking out now about handing his number out to some dude in a gym changeroom.

But hey. It's not the Houghton branch, and I'm very much NOT interested in dudes. So I send him an sms explaining that it's about spreading light and joy in this weird, soulfree universe we find ourselves in. No reply. There's a good chance he thinks I'm a total flake. Damn. I really wanna pick his brain about becoming a property mogul.

Noma, my waitress at Mugg & Bean, is one of the more attentive waitresses I've encountered in a long time. She's there when the plate is somewhat bare. She's there when the strawberry juice is at last finished. Definitely worth a 20% tip.

Now the sweat has cooled, and the rain is spattering down. Jersey on. Time to go home to my empty flat to be anxious about my date with Jacqui tomorrow night.

Jacqui bought me a little toy sheep for me to use as a gimmick to give to my voice-over clients. It -- she -- has a little bell attached to her collar. And we call her "Sleepy Sheepy". I'll cuddle up to her tonight. Luckily I haven't inserted the voice recording device into her gut which says, in my voice, "Tired of BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD voice artists? Give Roy Blumenthal a bleat on 082 659 3165!"

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