(excerpt of article written for CallOver magazine).
An interesting job in the cab taking an elderly American couple from Bloomsbury to the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, where they were intending to take a guided tour. They were over from Salt Lake City and asked a lot of questions, as Americans often do, ie. “what’s this little town called?” (Battersea). Anyway it was a nice job, with £46 on a credit card.
Time for lunch. I’m always anxious when it’s gone noon I’m a long way from the cab caffs at Southwark, Paddington or Pancras. I could have gone to MacDonald’s at Wandsworth, but I only went to Maccy Ds a few days’ ago, and one burger a week is enough for me. It was Sunday and I found I could park easily enough in Southfields. It’s an upmarket area and I couldn’t find anywhere suitable to eat within my price range. I don’t usually go into pubs on work days as I’d get too comfortable, and seeing people relaxing and enjoying themselves would depress me. There was no Spoons anyway, and an entry-level meal in another pub was about £11. A bit out of my comfort zone for a workday lunch, so I popped over to an over-priced American coffee shop to use the lav while I considered my next move.
Coming out of the loo I was tempted by a tuna baguette thing. The European girl serving took the sandwich from me and put it under a toasting contraption. I wasn’t sure whether I had to wait for it, or whether someone would bring it over. I indicated I’d return for it. I got my large cappuccino and sat down. Tension mounted as I didn’t know how long my sandwich would take to cook: two minutes? Ten?? I still find it strange that you select a sandwich from the display, and it needs to be cooked.
After a few minutes later I went back to the counter. The lady – a “barista” – I believe they are called – was now dealing with a seemingly never ending queue of people. Had she forgotten about my sandwich? Should I butt in and risk upsetting the queuing punters? Instead, I waited patiently until she noticed me. She didn’t notice me. In the end I had to ask her about my sandwich after everyone had been served. She then said she’d need to make a new one as it had burned!
A toasted sandwich and a coffee cost me £7. Seven quid for a large mug of stress and humiliation!