In a Midhurst Tearoom, July 1995
The hottest summer on record made doing the tourist thing a bit more difficult. It was a family vacation and we ended up in Midhurst, to see some ruins (and relax a bit) before we headed up to London and the more intense part of our trip. The tea-room we stopped in that afternoon had sandwiches and sodas, and although it wasn't air-conditioned, there was a trellised garden in the back which was quite pleasant.
We were waiting for food when a man and a lady sat down nearby. He had full motorcycle leathers, she did not, but both carried helmets. It must have been quite a ride, for the woman was visibly excited, and was watching her companion very intensely. The man began to talk, he was not well-spoken, but by the swagger in his demeanor, I could tell that he'd done this routine many times before.
She was reading him; watching his little show. An afternoon thrill? Or was he worth another look? Her intensity of concentration suggested that she was ambivalent, she nodded a little too vigorously and smiles of attraction alternated with fleeting grimaces of repulsion.
Our food came and we ate quietly; the boys were still jet-lagged. The couple finished their drinks and were off, I could hear the cycle rev as they sped away to parts unknown.
At that moment I was glad that my courting days were over, that my family was intact, and I was happily married. The mating dance is fascinating, but not always pretty.