Horribly deformed and with an unappealing personality, I find myself alone on Valentine’s Day. Attempts to find a date usually land me in cuffs, led toward a squad car as I roar ‘well it was real to me’ at the object of my affections. I’m not one to sit out festivities of any sort though, so come Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. The Feast of Hallmark) I usually head to Amore, my favourite restaurant. There, I take table for one and order bottles of wine and loads of bread rolls. I pretend to be undecided on what to order but it’s all a ruse as I’ve no intention of getting an actual meal.
Couples (young and in love or old and pretending) sit around me and I try to engage them in conversation. ‘Out for the day that’s in it,’ I observe. ‘Bit of dinner and then a movie, is that the plan?’ I ask. I receive half-hearted nods and vague, thin lipped smiles in response. No eye-contact. ‘Off home once the film’s over,’ I continue. ‘Back to the digs for a ride probably. Will yous be riding later? I bet you will. Dirt-birds,’ I conclude with a friendly chuckle. Then I down a roll and pour another glass of wine for myself. Glug glug. I finish the glass in one and thump it down onto the table. I make an ‘aaahhhhh’ sound and then say the words, ‘home for a ride, you betcha.’
Then I try and move the conversation on. I ask if anyone saw Horizon this week. ‘It was about infinity,’ I loudly inform them, ‘mad stuff infinity.’ I then go on to tell the other diners that if they ran a hotel with an infinite amount rooms and there was an infinite amount of guests staying in every room they’d still have enough rooms left over if another infinite amount of people showed up looking for rooms. No one is acknowledging me by this stage so I just ramble on to myself. ‘Infinite rooms,’ I say, emphasising the wonder in my voice, ‘infinite rooms with infinite guests, . . .riding, . . .riding into infinity’. Then I pour another glass of wine (glug glug thump) and pop another roll into the gob (pop). After I’ve swallowed the roll, I lean back in my seat, place my hands behind my head, belch and wistfully utter the following: ‘infinite dirt-birds'.
Anyway, this kind of thing usually goes on for another half-hour or so before I am ‘encouraged’ to leave. So I leave, return home, climb into bed and wail. ‘What’s going on in there at all?’ demands the Mother from her room across the landing, ‘you’re like a wounded bear’. ‘For the love of God,’ I shout back, ‘can’t a man be left to lament his lack of companionship in peace?’ ‘Oh, so that’s what you’re at,’ says the Mother. ‘Why don’t you do something about your predicament? Find a nice girl, a blind one that might take less of an objection to you. Find a nice blind girl like that lad in the Mask DVD did. Watch the DVD. It came free with the paper. Elephant Man next week and Charles Laughton the week after that.’ Then there is a brief pause, only a short respite, before the Mother resumes her advice. ‘Of course, it’s not just the look of you is the problem, it’s that talk out of you. Find a girl who’s both deaf and blind or blind and unable to understand our language. That should do the trick.’
A brief flash of optimism. Could the Mother be onto something? A woman who could neither see nor hear me might find a place for me in her heart. But the hope vanishes when I realise that such a woman would eventually get around to touching my head. Feeling around, she’d soon realise she’d been sold a pup. I recommence my lamentations. The Mother puts in earplugs and goes back to reading a novelisation of Miss Congeniality 2 that she got free with the paper.