Have you ever set about doing something only to be told it won’t work, but you stubbornly carry on, your pride won’t let you give in? Or you realise yourself you don’t want to do something, but you don’t want to hear the “I told you so” comments, so you carry on regardless. I have been guilty of this throughout my life. I don’t like to admit defeat. Over the years though, I have learned that sometimes it’s actually easier all round to just quietly throw in the towel, keep my head down and say nothing.
We have a friend David, who is as stubborn as a mule. Once his mind is made up about something, there is no stopping him. He gets the bit between his teeth, or he draws his own conclusions and no matter what evidence you present, no matter how credible, he just isn’t buying it.
A few years ago we went on holiday to France, while we were there, we arranged to meet up with two friends who now live there. David and his wife Steph were also going to be France at the same time. We all decided to meet in Paris and spend a couple of days together. David had never been to France before and had made up his mind that the French people were all arrogant and rude (something that I have never found). Because he, had decided this, it therefore had to be true.
The first night in Paris the six of us went out for dinner. It was a lovely balmy night and we chose a restaurant with outside seating. David was prepared for the “arrogant” French waiters. On arrival at the restaurant, the concierge, through sheer years of experience automatically handed us menus in English. We hadn’t even spoken yet, but he knew. Cue David getting on his high horse!
He handed the menu back to the concierge and asked for a French one. The fact that he didn’t speak a word of French didn’t matter. We sat down and the waiter came across, quite obviously forewarned about David. He took our orders, I ordered something that I always eat when I’ve been in Paris – Mussels in curry sauce. It may sound odd, may even sound, yuck no way, but honestly it is delicious. If you’re ever in Paris, I urge you to try it.
Everyone else ordered and then the waiter turned to David. He was looking at David with a slightly raised eyebrow and maybe, yes, a little look of arrogance. David closes his menu and says in his loudest voice I’ll have the Steak Tartare. Before any of us can say a word, the waiter says “Monsieur, do you know what Steak Tartare is?” David, without faltering says “Of course, I know what Steak Tartare is, I eat it all the time!”
His wife Steph almost choked on her drink and the rest of us all spluttered a bit and generally looked flabbergasted. David is a man who eats Gammon and Pineapple about four times a week (honestly) it is about the only thing that he actually wants to eat. His most exotic dalliance with food would probably be a mixed grill from a Chinese restaurant!
The waiter goes off rather sceptically and we start to tell David that he’d just ordered raw beef and raw egg for dinner. He is of course horrified, but much too proud to change his order.
Our meals arrive and the waiter sets the Steak Tartare down with an almost triumphant look and then hovers indiscreetly in the background. Aware of the waiters presence, David picks up his cutlery and begins to eat. Every mouthful is torture, he is turning green, but still he eats. We are all chatting and laughing, he silently eats his way through the plate of raw meat.
The waiter looks defeated when he returns to the table to collect out plates. He turns to David and says “Did Monsieur enjoy his Steak Tartare?” Once again without faltering David shrugs and says “meh, I’ve tasted better!” He spent the rest of the night drinking coffee and wine to drown out the memory.
The next night at dinner, he ordered chicken!
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