Anti-sad treatment

There could be a number of reasons why I’ve been so uptight, tired, and stroppy over the last week but I think the real reason is all of them combined. So, this evening Michele and I decided that we should treat ourselves to a nice meal out. Over the years this technique has proved so effective that we named it “anti-sad treatment.” The restaurant doesn’t matter as long as it serves food we like, red wine, and has a nice atmosphere. Tonight we chose a local Thai restaurant, noted for its excellent food, but it didn’t quite pan out in the way we’d hoped. The food was superb as usual and the intense humidity of the place was mitigated by their agreement to open the door; personally I prefer the intense heat to the perpetual stream of sirens shooting past but each to his own. They even gave us some complimentary drinks!
So it was all going nicely until I tried to pay and the card machine rejected my card with a surly “NOT AUTHORISED”. This surprised me, but was just about feasible, so I tried another card that I knew was ok: a credit card with zero balance and a 5 grand limit. This too was rejected. By now, all of the other punters had spotted the prospect of a commotion and were staring over with morbid interest. The waitress would not entertain the possibility of a technical fault in the device and was looking annoyed which, in turn, annyoed me. So I gave in and ran over to the nearest cash machine which, of course, happily delivered my cash without argument. Incidentally, the last time I had a row with someone over a problem with a card reader was in a small Costcutter over the princely sum of 3 quid. The shop manager was so confident that I was trying to rob them that he and his wig went out to the back of the shop to fetch a bag of rubbish containing evidence, in the form of other till receipts that would prove him right. His apology was so pathetic that he used to run out of the shop every time I came in from that day forward. The point I’m trying to make here is that I’ll usually blame myself for this sort of error, unless I’m utterly sure it’s not.
When I returned and handed over the cash, they accepted it eagerly and then stiffed me for a tenner on top of the tip. They had the till out with a calculator and everything and still claimed I’d given them ten quid less than I had. Now, it could be my mistake…but it wasn’t. It could have been deliberate on their part, right down to nobbling the machine so that I had to pay cash, but I doubt it. But whatever the reason, the garlic, coconut, chili and spices couldn’t get the overpowering bad taste out of my mouth.
Look, I know this is a really stupid thing to get annoyed about, but it ruined our anti-sad treatment and thus ruined our day…and I paid for it. It also made us look like a couple of low-level crooks in front of everyone in the restaurant.


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