Toward the end of a very successful engagement in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the project manager announced he would take the team out to celebrate. He booked a table overlooking the harbor at a local restaurant known for fine seafood. We ran into a few problems with the software testing that day and called an all-hands-on-deck in order to finish up in time to make our 6pm reservation. We arrived only a few minutes late but our table was waiting. As we were settling in, someone’s cell phone rang. At the other end of the table the one Brit among us looked up, distress writ large across his face.
“Oh nooo! I forgot to call the missus and it’s gettin’ wee bit late back ‘ome. If you lot don’t mind, I’ll just be a minute.”
He quickly dialed his wife and this is the side of the conversation the rest of us heard.
“Hi luv, did I wake you? … I’m so sorry. … Oh, yes, yes. Very busy today. Forgot to call. … No, we’re done for the night but I’m not at the ‘otel yet. Me an’ the project team all went to the Oar ‘Ouse to celebrate.”
“What? No, OAR ‘OUSE, not ‘ORE ‘OUSE.”
“No, luv. Yer not gettin’ it. It’s a restaurant, see? Oar? Like what you row wif? Oar. O. A. R. Oar?”
“I dunno. It’s nautical. … It’s a ‘ouse where they store kit fer boats.”
“No, I ‘aven’t asked what’s on the menu but it’s a fine restaurant. … Fish. … Sea food. … Yes, luv. … No, luv. …”
This continued for several minutes. I glanced around the dining room and saw it had fallen silent. The bartender turned the TV down so he could hear better. Many of the patrons had swiveled their chairs toward our table, looking on anxious to see how it would turn out. The wait staff, our group, also looked on with bemused interest. I caught the project manager’s eye across the table.
“What did you have to promise her?”
“What do you mean?” He pushed a plate of bacon wrapped scallops across the table to me.
“You know exactly what I mean,” I said, scooping a couple of scallops onto my plate. “You picked this place on purpose, didn’t you? What did you promise her?”
“Nothing. She thought it would be a lark. Pass that calamari down, would you?”
“Hrmm. Figures,” I replied around a mouthful of scallop. “You realize this is an abuse of your access to his emergency contact information, don’t you? Man, these scallops are to die for!”
“Seemed like an emergency to me.”
“If it wasn’t before, it is now,” I agreed. “We’re gonna need another round of drinks here soon. And you might as well order something for him. It’s the least you could do.”
“No problem. Got it covered. Tried the escargot?”
“I’m good for now. Thanks.” We both turned back to watch the show.
“…no, luv, it’s not like that. We really were workin’ late last couple o’ weeks.”
A few minutes later, the waitress arrived with our second round of drinks.
Best project ever.