There was a day that you could go to the pub, drink your fill, talk utter nonsense about politics and politicians, pretend you were an expert about sport and motorcycle maintenance and burp loudly. That was it. A great night.
Everyone promished each other to shee them at the shame time tomorrow and then everyone shtaggered home. Life was simpler back then.
Then over the horizon came a dark threat to that way of life and things began to slowly change. Everything is smart and there is a computer chip in everything – computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Even in my dog.
When my cailleach and I were in Inverness the other week, we went to a pub that claimed to do a fine scoff. We sat at a table deciding whether to order fish and chips, pie and chips or curry and rice, also available with chips.
“We had to download an app and order using that”
You can also get the so-called jumbo portion of fries which is really just chips with, er, more chips. We also decided we would have a wee drinkie-poo but in glasses with no chips out of them, obviously.
That’s when we noticed that we could get fast service and table service if we followed a wee procedure explained at the foot of the menu. We had to download an app and order using that.
What a load of nonsense, we thought. This will be like the free wifi promised in certain Stornoway establishments. The log-in will take all night and the speed will be so dire that it will all be a complete and utter waste of time.
However, rather than risk living up to the Luddite tendencies of our age range, we decided to give it a go.
Hey, look at us. We’re so cool using the very latest technology to do really complicated tasks – like ordering a bevvy.
But the iOS application – see, I know all the techno buzzwords although why they have to keep mentioning the Isles of Scilly I’ll never know – downloaded quickly from the iTunes app store – whoosh. The app rapidly opened – whoosh. We were able to order banger, chips and stuff like pancakes and ice cream, and two red wines to come to table 54 – whoosh.
Within a very few minutes a polite waiter with a smile as wide as Academy Street dashed over with our supper – whoosh. He said if we wanted more just to “app him”. And then he was off – whoosh.
And, do you know what, we did order again – of course, we blinking well did.
After all that, I had to go to the smallest room a few times – whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.
After all, what is the world coming to when you have use your phone to get your pub order taken?
Actually, that was not the case. We had the choice to order from the bar or use the app.
If I wanted to stand at the bar waiting my turn and being jostled by boozy Tam and his mates who wanted to know who was this stranger who had encroached on the spot they had been rooted to for the last 10 years, I could have. If I’d wanted to fumble around in my pocket for the right money or wait while the staff found a bag of coins for change, I could have opted for all that.
What next? No cash, that’s what.
There is a pub down south already that doesn’t even accept cash, money, sponduliks, wonga, sovs, ponies, monkeys or even the occasional 10 bob. You cannot even pay for your dram with a wing, which as everyone knows was the Olde Stornoway term for a penny.
It is The Boot in Suffolk where they only accept card payments. You do not have to have the right money, you do not have to wait for your change, you don’t get change to buy a raffle and it is all done with a simple contactless wave of the wrist. Whoosh.
While we were in that pub in Inverness, Mrs X was being pestered by a tipsy retired gentleman who tried to impress by telling her he was a lover of fine things – especially whisky that has been carefully laid down and women that are, well, just women.
“Ye might not think it, like, but ah’m a wee bit of a conneeshoor of both women and whisky. See youse, ma dahling, youse are like a fine whisky – very smooth and a fine vintage tae,” he whispered to her after I had whooshed off to the loo.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
She was getting right fed up of him so she replied: “What a coincidence, Tam. Because I like my whisky just as I like my men too.”
His ears immediately pricked up and he puffed out his chest. “Really? Is that because you like men who are well-matured, strong and fae the north of Scotland, aye?”
She goes: “No, cove. It’s because I would put some of them in a barrel for a few years with very little oxygen.”
Whoosh, and Tam was gone.