Mum and Dad + staff went out for their Christmas meal today, so I tagged along. Being accountants, you see, they have to fill in tax returns for many of their clients (including me). The deadline for tax returns, for money earned from March ’02 – March ’03, was the end of January. Despite Mum & Dad sending out letters as early as last July, most people can’t be bothered to do anything about sorting out the information until late November. So Mum & Dad have been working pretty much flat out since then to submit over 300 tax returns, and as a result haven’t had time to go out for the annual Christmas meal until now. So that was nice.
We went to the Forest Hotel in Dorridge, which was a bit posh for me. It’s the kind of place where, despite the order in which you’re sitting around the table, women are given menus first. Orders are also taken in this interesting hierarchy. Once you get said menu, which could be at any time but don’t try raising your hands to receive it or you’ll just be passed over and look stupid, you have to speak French to understand the majority of the items. I don’t get this. It’s fair enough if the food is French in origin, obviously, but when it’s just normal food with a flash name, it’s a bit of a weird thing to do.
I’m always a bit nervous in places like this, as I don’t fit in. When I get nervous, I get flustered. So I’m looking at the menu and I see the ‘minute steak with pommes frites’. Even I, being the only person in the country to have only learnt French for six weeks, know what ‘pommes frites’ are. But what’s this word ‘minute’? Are we talking time, or are we talking about lizards? I can’t believe it’s a really small steak, but what the hell would the former mean? Is that how long it’s been cooked for, or what? Does that mean it’s really undercooked? If so, is it just a fancy way of saying ‘blue’? What am I going to say when she asks me what I want? They’ll all laugh at me if I say the wrong one, what am I going to do?
Thankfully, somebody else wanted the same thing, so said it before me. Why didn’t this bozo just ask his parents, you’re thinking. Because for some bizarre reason I like to pretend I know things that I don’t. This sucks, and I’m trying to stop doing it. I think it’s a man thing. Here, incidentally, is the definition of ‘minute steak’, courtesy of my dictionary:
a thin steak that can be cooked quickly
So I was right on both counts! How do people find this stuff out? I live in perpetual fear that I’m going to wake up one morning to find my whole head has turned green, then everyone’ll laugh at me because I didn’t know that, once you pass the age of 20, you have to scratch your right ear the night before to prevent this happening. I need a book on life, I think. Perhaps a CD version, to listen to in the car.