Last Tango in Paris and the Green Eyed Monster
Bill and Bett, James and Jill and Philip and I were nearly the first on the dinner cruise boat, the highlight of our week, and it transpired that we were very lucky not to have taken the metro, because lots of people got stuck on it. It shut down completely due to strike action, and people were sent off at whatever stop they happened to reach, not known where they were or what was happening.
We were due to start the cruise at 8 but it was after 9 before all the people arrived, some in taxis, some running. All very pleased that the boat had waited for them. We were also lucky we had got there early because we were able to choose a good central spot on the boat, and we had a good view of all the lit-u famous buildings as we cruised by. The late comers had to sit downstairs and could only see the river.
Our New Zealand acquaintance said the the people at her table used snuff, and there was also an East German at her table, who couldn't believe that such scientific meetings existed. He said where
he was that they had one electron microscope and someone wanted to buy it, but they couldn't give it up because it would take years to get all the requisite parts to make another one. While we waited we were given two glasses of champagne. After the first glass, all the empty glasses were collected and a completely new set was sent around. Then we got the ever present french bread.
It was boring waiting for the missing passengers. We were all keen to eat, and to get on with the cruise. I noticed at the table behind us, a girl in a green dress eyeing our table just then. Shortly after that Philip went out to gt some fresh air by the back door. A bit l ater he did the same again. I did wonder, but I didn't rally think too much of it just then. We were really hungry by the time our first course arrived, after the boat had embarked.
It was a salad - with ham, duck liver, eggs, cheese and nuts. Very tasty dressing too. We also had bread rolls with that. When the first course arrived they came with two bottles of white and one of red, and later yet another white. So for the seven of us on that table, we had the equivalent
of a bottle each, plus two glasses of champagne. The main course was rice, followed by Beef Burgundy - a rich beef stew with carrots and potatoes in it. It was somewhat disappointed even though it was tasty. Then we each got a slice of Camembert cheese and more bread. And the
final course was pear pie with almond crust. A bit on the rich side, Philip thought, and then demi-tasses of strong coffee.
The meal was a bit hurried and we had just docked when the coffee arrived. In fact they didn't even get around to offering cream for the coffee to our table, because they were all busy with the docking procedure.
Then there were a few speeches, a few gifts and we all were ready to go home. but just then
Bett got sick. And when I say sick, she projectile vomitted all over the table, over and over again. I could only think of how awful she must be feeling and what a waste of such good food and wine, but she didn't seem to be embarrassed or upset by it. The smell which permeated the area was very unpleasant, so people started moving away from it quickly, as things were pretty much over anyway.
Then later, Philip asked me if i had noticed a young slim attractive American girl in a green dress who in fact was a conference member rather than a wife. She apparently had been with him on the back part of the boat when they had both taken the air and had said what a pity that she had her husband with her, and he had his wife, because he ws just the sort of man she fancied sleeping with. He agreed with her.
"Why did you do that," I asked.
"I had to be polite," he said, "and she had paid me an enormous complement."
"Well you could have said, what a nice thing to say. Or even better, I think you are
attractive too, but my wife more than keeps me busy."
Then later it came to me, when Bett was sick, she was turned towards the table behind us. I wondered if perhaps the green-dressed girl had left very quickly just - just maybe - her dress wasn't quite as clean as before. That made me feel better.