Tuesday, 23 January 2007

A tale of two technologies

Well, I’m going against what I originally penned in for this blog, again. I have been desperately trying to edit together a video that I recorded on my Nokia Nseries N93, but instead I’ve decided to write, as I have no patience for editing software these days.

Now, throughout this blog and its exploration of how hedonism and 21st century technology meet, I’m going to set myself tasks every now and again. I don’t profess to be the most hedonistic guy in the world, far from it, I’ll often settle for second best or whatever suits. Though occasionally I will impress upon myself the need for some decadence, such an impression took place the weekend just gone, when I decided it was time for a selection of nice cigars.

Now, being relatively new to the area I had no idea where the local tobacconist was, fortunately for me we live in an age where such information is but a click away, as apposed to the more traditional flicking of pages. Anyway, one Google search later and I had my destination, seven button presses later and I had my directions, having put the postcode into my Tomtom satellite navigation system. So I shoe horned on my Vans and meandered down the street. I had approximately a mile and half to travel and thus decided to make it by foot alone. The Tomtom quietly gave me voice guided directions where needed and I followed its onscreen map without fault, although in all honesty I basically had to walk in a straight line.

However, I arrived at my destination without fail, chapped and cold, but with plenty of daylight to spare. I was welcomed inside by an elderly gentleman smoking a hand-made clay pipe and wearing a Motorhead t-shirt, quite the juxtaposition but a gamely one I thought. After exchanging pleasantries I went about explaining how I wished to buy some fine cigars, whilst remaining within the price bracket of a sane man. He directed me to the controlled atmosphere of a closed room, where the finer goods were kept.

“Nicaraguan” he said, “hand rolled.”

“Outstanding” I replied “I’ll take six.”

So we exchanged currency for goods in the usual manner and I went on my way, satisfied that technology had helped me acquire some decent cigars. This felt too easy though, like I was the racing hare yet this time I’d actually one, with little effort, and with time to spare. So I decided further treats were in-order. Not one to quibble about a decision I fancied I was in the mood for something with a Latino flavour, after-all, my cigars were of South American origin. Without delay I pulled out my mobile and began searching for somewhere I could drink a half decent sangria, and once again I was meandering down the road, following my friend Tomtom in his tutored English tone to a venue called Kazbar.

I have to admit; even the outside of this place had a distinct Latino feel to it, largely comprising of browned concrete and cheap wood, the door was medieval in fashion yet retained an air of authenticity to it that drew me in and begged me to put at its old iron hinges. We are drifting from the point in hand however; I had been suggested this place by a search engine after using 3G mobile technology on the 2.4", 320x240 pixel resolution, 262144 colour screen of my N93. I’d used my Tomtom to bring me here, and now all I needed was some Sangria to enjoy with my cigars and perhaps the company of a good woman with a Latino bloodline.

Now thus far the technology had worked, it had allowed easy sailing through out the day, I’d woken up, decided I wanted something a little removed from my daily in take and set about acquiring it in the way I know best, through utilising technology, and probably making a long-winded effort out of the whole thing. It had worked however, as I sat at the bar with my £15 jug of Spanish made sangria – they employed Spaniards at the saloon – I puffed tentatively to start on my Nicaraguan hand-rolled cigar. I say tentatively because I was still unawares of how I’d find a Spanish, or indeed Mexican, girl to top the night off. The technology I had with me could probably help in some way but I’d decided enough was enough and to run with my instincts for the rest of the night.

This is where the story becomes even more interesting. See, as I was sat there with slightly squinted eyes, observing and tasting, a young gentleman came and sat next to me. I was on the verge of giving up, three cigars and two jugs of sangria down I’d almost decided to call it a night, and then he piped up.

“Do you mind telling me where you got those cigars?” he started.

“No problem, it was actually just down the road, there is a small yet highly specialised tobacconist on High Street, excellent service, I’ll be going back soon.” I replied.

And he thanked me and turned away. I chose this juncture to excuse myself briefly, but didn’t want to lose my seat and so I decided to leave my jacket on top of the stool and ask the young sir to look after it, which he did. When I returned he asked the same of me and before coming back to the bar I noticed he shot outside, I thought the swine had ran off leaving me with some piece of incriminating evidence, I could see it there plain as sight… ‘NO NOT MINE SIR, SOME PRICK COCKSUCKER LEFT IT HERE FOR ME TO TAKE THE HEAT’ but no sooner had I thought, than he came back in and with a lady in tow. Now, at this point I was ready to leave, hearing this couple, who were quite obviously on a first date, was just a little too much; I had just about finished my last bit of sangria when the young chap ordered another jug, no harm in that, but then he proceeded to fill my glass.

“There you go, enjoy” he said.

“The fucker” I thought.

I don’t need his sympathy, but free drink is free drink, so fuck it. No sooner had he finally come around to pouring his own glass than the girl stood-up and left for the bathroom. I thought I’d break the silence and ask the question.

“How’s it going then?” I chirped up.

“Pretty well actually” he replied.

And we both sank back into our positions and sipped on our sangria. Then he turned to me with a smile and made an exhalation of laughter that obviously warrants attention, so politely I turned to him and raised my eyebrows.

“You know…” he began, “It’s the funniest thing, we actually met on the internet, though a site called Faceparty, I’m not usually up for that sort of thing but I thought it’d be worth a go, weird how technology is creeping into our lives isn’t it?”

“Fuck…” I replied, “Weirder than you can even begin to think”

“Quickly like, before she comes back, I know we’ve just met ‘n all, but she said she’s got a mate coming down in a bit, save her being a third wheel and getting in the way, you fancy sharing a few more drinks with us then seeing if you get along with her mate when she comes?”

“Yeah, fuck it, why not?”

“Great, I’m Gary, she’s Lisa, I’ll introduce you when she gets back…”

So it seemed inadvertently, technology had indeed provided me with everything that I wanted that day. From fine cigars, good sangria and now a date which, judging by the girl sat next to Gary, probably wouldn’t be of Latino origin but a good looking girl none-the-less.

My hopes were soon dashed when I saw what appeared to be a sasquatch waving through the dimly lit, smoke filled bar area. Her marauding walk made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and as I heard Gary let out a nervous cough I decided it was time to make a quiet and dignified exit, before any blood was spilled.

“Sorry Gary… Lucy… something’s just come up, you know how it is, working within the social media, web2.0, fucking search engine optimization and all that, bastards never leave me alone, just called me in, overtime yeah, but I need the money, erm, call me, we’ll do lunch.

And that was that, well almost, as I was quickly making my way to the medieval styled door, I spotted a graceful looking creature sat in a booth at the other end of the venue in the restaurant area. I thought I’d hide, give it a second and see if she has company…and then I tried my luck, which as it happened seemed to be in. She was petite, had an olive complexion and spoke in soft broken English which had the adorable trait of being pronounced from the roof of her mouth rather than the front of her teeth. We talked and ordered some more sangria, ate ‘on the house’ pistachio nuts and nattered briefly about Europe and her time in Oxford. Athalia was her name, as close as I can come to spelling how it was pronounced anyway, and she was wonderful company for the time we had.

Now, I had everything that evening, good drink, good cigars and finally good company, and through one way or another, it was brought about through technology and its use. Always bear in mind though, that it’s more often wise than not to go with gut feeling.


Anonymous said...

Quality stuff... A fascinating tale of rotter spotting with a technological twist. I salute you Rawstone!

JaneDoughnut said...

Thanks for visiting me. Your blog is fascinating. I reckon we'll be meeting again.

ella m. said...

I'm surprised you didn't assume the worst when your companion had to bribe you to be his wingman. better than me, you are.