In some of the best news we’ve had in a long time, I received a call from my girlfriend’s father this evening basically giving his blessing to us being together. Most of you know that my girlfriend is Muslim and we’ve had a long struggle to get her parents to accept us being together. I’ve always got along very well with them, but they’ve always struggled with the idea of her being with a non-Muslim. Her mum returned home after spending the day with us and apparently they had a discussion about us. He called me to have a man-to-man chat to say that they’ve accepted that I’m not going to convert to Islam, but they really like me, can see that I take very good care of their daughter and would like me to attend more family events.
This has lifted such a huge weight that has been on both of our shoulders for years. Family is very important to us both and I’ve never wanted to compromise my girlfriend’s relationship with her family so I cannot express enough how happy her father’s phone call has made us both.
On Friday night I went to my first Twenty 20 cricket match at the Oval cricket grounds after Sanj and John boxed me in on the train and refused to let me get off at my stop. I’m not the biggest fan of cricket but Twenty20 is certainly the most bearable form of the sport, lasting three hours rather than an entire day, or five days if we’re talking test cricket! And you can’t really fault the setting: a gorgeous British summer evening in central London with a few drinks and a pack of mates: Mark, Paul and Nathan joined us at the grounds. The rules are pretty easy to grasp and it’s just a wholly enjoyable sport to watch with a bunch of friends and casually chat as the game goes on in front of you.
I’ve been meeting up with David at Borough Market every Saturday we can arrange it lately, and each visit always starts with the best coffee in London (according to The Times) at Monmouth. Seriously, if you’ve not tried this coffee yet, you should. Flat Whites in Soho – another award-winning/highly acclaimed coffee shop – buy their beans from Monmouth coffee. Last weekend it was just him, his baby son Michalis and myself – a proper lads morning out. Rather than having our usual German sausage for breakfast we sought out the ostrich burger stall and I have to say it’s one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in a long time. Just pure ostrich meat that is low fat and healthy, with wholemeal mustard, mayo and rocket in a bun. I always end up buying a ‘hangover cure’ from the juice stall as well: orange, lemon, kiwi, fennel and apple in a layered drink. If you’re using a straw and start from the bottom, you get a sharp hit of the lemon and apple at the bottom to wake you up and then as you reach the top you get the sweeter, softer orange and kiwi. It’s very nice!
I was out in with John today – he’s just finished working on Inception and watched the Cast & Crew screening on Thursday (and didn’t invite me this time, the b*****d). He says it’s the best film he’s seen/worked on in the last five years though so go see it!
I’m a dork
So we’re in a meeting with an incredible new client: five really great, intelligent, creative, funny, nice people and we’re really enjoying working with them. I get out my laptop and set it up on the table so that we can look through the designs, websites, etc, and one of them leans in to type in a URL on my laptop but then, I’m guessing out of politeness, pulls back and puts their hands in their lap. So I say “Please feel free to type in any websites you would like to check, it’s fine!” and gesture towards my Macbook.
As soon as the words come out of my mouth, I get a flash of every website I’ve ever visited and my heart sinks as I remember that I’ve not cleared my browser history. I mean anything could be in there… nerdy games I occasionally play, inappropriate jokes, or, you know… other stuff.
What do you do in that situation? Do you brush away their hands as they reach for your laptop? “Actually, don’t touch, I have cooties!!!” Or before anything can happen do you immediately say “Excuse me for one moment.” and very obviously clear the browser history, at which point, you might as well just announce to everyone in the room “I visit websites that I don’t want any of you to know about.” But I don’t say anything.
Instead, every single time one of them leans into my computer I freeze, sometimes mid-sentence, and stare intently at the suggestion URLs that come up as they start typing in each URL. I swear my heart stops beating and I hold my breath each time as Sanj stares at me with a noticeable frown on his face like “What is wrong with you and why do you go beetroot red every time they touch your laptop!? This is going well! Don’t mess this up for us or I swear I’ll kill you.”
As they tell me the name of the URLs right before they type them in I’m playing word games in my mind trying to assign hundreds of potentially inappropriate websites that start with the same letters. What if they accidentally click one of them? My real fear that fills me with the worst kind of dread is: what if they accidentally click to visit one of the disgusting websites that you guys send to me every day??? You know exactly what I’m talking about so don’t even pretend like you don’t. I’m talking about those sites that are so shocking that they screw up your entire day after you’ve even had a glimpse of them.
As one particularly funny website pops into my head my eyes glaze over and two seconds later I realise my mouth has inadvertently morphed onto a big stupid grin that is not remotely appropriate for the atmosphere of the current discussion and I try to get a hold of myself. I pull it together and the meeting goes off without a hitch. I think I really like this client – they’re a lot of fun to work with.