Dover Street is one of those streets perpendicular to Piccadilly, parallel to Old Bond, that cuts through Mayfair and ends up at the Ritz.
On Dover Street there is a club with Polynesian flair. They serve communal drinks in 'treasure chests'-- questionable concoctions rumoured to contain rum and/or champagne and/or tequila with colouring and fruit garnishings.
Can I get something else? Would it be rude?
I don't enthusiastically embrace the concept of communal drinks. Not since the Scorpion Bowl at the Chinese restaurant behind the student union in Cambridge* where we would go as underagers because we knew the Chinese wouldn't card.
A server walked by. I asked for a beer. No double-take. No questioning look. Some of the others in the party had their own drinks -- not just a straws plunged into a Disneyesque chest filled with hard core something or other. I wasn't the only selfish drinker.
Waiters walked through the party offering hors d'oeuvres. I declined the first tray. Then the second. I was chatting with the hostess.
I suppose I have to eat something. She'll think I'm poo pooing the poopoo platter.
As I should have. On the third pass, I picked up a sample -- chicken on a stick. I do not enthusiastically embrace overcooked and cold finger food. I ate nothing else for the rest of the night.
After three beers, I found myself taking dips into the treasure chests. At first I tried to keep track of my straw. By the end of the evening everyone's straws were everyone else's straws too.
Everyone else consisted of work colleagues. This was not a formal work do, but it was a gathering of most of the company. Someone's birthday. Compatible colleagues.
But share straws with these people?
I danced until three in the morning.
Early 80's Madonna and Outkast and Gloria Gaynor.
One of the work colleagues, a gentle giant with a shaved head - a deceptive look: a menacing face covering the demeanour of a lamb, received a bottle to the face because a member of the public - a short aggressive guy - didn't like the look of our gentle giant. A strong face, little damage. The short aggressive guy was ejected from the match. We danced on.
The taxi driver tried to engage me in conversation as he drove through Chelsea. I couldn't hear properly, my ear drums still humdrumming from music on the dance floor. I was afraid I couldn't talk properly; I worried about slurring. I thought about that black cab driver who plied his lone female customers with drug-laced champagne and then had his way with them. My guy wasn't that guy, but he talked to much.
Dog greeted me enthusiastically. I embraced her enthusiastically. My Man didn't even toss in the bed.