Sludging into that unfocussed area which was his middle fifties, sometime after the innocent optimism of youth had been expended on one or two false starts, career-wise, and with a failed marriage under his belt, Martin Glubervitch was struck by the lack of admiration given to his figure and his person when he went into his favourite café for morning coffee every Saturday.
As he sat in his customary seat reading his newspaper, he noticed other figures, sheathed in the glistening apparel of the committed cyclist, were getting the admiring glances his rounded and accepting profile failed to attract. The “lightbulb” moment is well documented in respected circles, I understand, and his found him later that day at the “Fulcrum Cycling Emporium,” byline, “Fitness is not a matter of taste,” where a challenged assistant was trying to find an outfit which would wrap itself around his portly frame without occasioning unnecessary embarrassment.
Like many a “Retail counsellor” who found nothing really suited or even fitted the customer, he got the nearest fit he could and then said, “Oh yes sir. That really brings out the inner sportsman in you.” Mark, who lived in a compliment free zone, smiled at this unexpected praise and said, “Really” while swivelling his figure from left to right in front of a mirror, designed not to shed too much truth on the vanities of passing dreamers.
The crucial purchase made, Mark returned home and, sure enough, the following Saturday he shovelled himself into the outfit and set off in sporting style towards his morning haunt. As he entered the café nothing was said directly, although a small wave of coughing may have caused concern. Once more he sat at his normal table, with his habitual newspaper and, as always, the waitress brought over coffee in her non-committal manner.
After about ten minutes there was a small commotion and a lady who could be described as, “Larger than life,” asked if it was alright if she joined him, which she did without waiting for his answer. As he looked up to give the required glance he couldn’t help noticing that, like him, she was wearing a close-fitting cycling outfit although her soothing figure suggested that sporting activities were not part of her regular routine.
“Are we tempted by the cooked breakfast?” she asked him and he smiled: her eyes were full of recognition. “Sometimes,” he said to himself,” We have to leave the house in order to come home.”