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Sunday September 23, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday June 2, 2013 MYT 1:10:49 AM
by jason godfrey
Being recognised as that guy from TV jangles the nerves of this model, who feels the pressure to look good for the camera.
I’M starving and though I know I shouldn’t, I flip straight to the burger section of the menu. Freshly melted cheese dripping down the side of grilled slab of beef teases me from a photo in the bottom right corner.
This is my enemy. More specifically this is the enemy of abdominal muscles and – with a body shoot for a magazine coming up – I have to be strong. Though admittedly if I were really strong I wouldn’t have headed straight to the first greasy American restaurant I spotted in Malaysia. Who comes to Malaysia to eat American food anyway?
Sitting back in my chair I flip to the salad section of the menu. Each salad is smothered in various fried meats and I realise that only a very obese person could consider any of these options healthy and keep a straight face.
Sipping my water I ponder how many extra squats I’d have to do to burn off a burger bun. At the table across the patio a blond guy with a mohawk and a skinny girl with long, black hair are getting seated. The girl sets her backpack onto an empty chair and glances in my direction before I duck into the menu.
She seemed to look my way a little longer than the cursory glance around the room would necessitate. Does she know me? Do I know her? I’m terrible with faces and even worse with names.
I once ran to greet an ex-girlfriend at the airport only to realise she was actually standing a few feet behind the strange lady I was about to hug. I decide I don’t know who the girl at the table is but if she comes over I’ll fake like I know her – you know, to be polite.
I’m staring at the back of her head when she peeks at me. Her eyes meet mine and I’m not ready to fake just yet, so the best I can muster is mashing my lips together in an impromptu smile that probably looks like a grimace. Blond mohawk guy scowls at me. I deduce that he is her boyfriend.
A waiter wearing a kurta comes to my rescue. “Have you decided, sir?”
“Uh ... do you know how many more calories are in your Mega Beef Bonanza Burger than in your BBQ Chicken and French Fries Salad?” I ask, as if such a dish could even be considered a salad.
“What?” he says. “No.”
“I’ll need a few more minutes then.”
The waiter shuffles away and when I look up the girl is standing in front of my table. This time my fake is ready and I give her a big smile and announce with the sort of conviction you would have for someone you’ve met at least twice, “Hey!”
A toothy grin spreads across her face and I know she definitely recognises me but I’m still drawing a blank on her.
“You’re that guy from Channel V!”
“Uh ... no, that’s not me,” I say. “I do host but not for Channel V.”
“You do Cash Cab, right?” she says undeterred.
“Uh ... no, that’s another guy.”
“But ... you are on TV right?” The smile she has etched on her face is starting to look painful.
“Uh ... yeah. Sometimes.”
“I knew it!” Unbelievably her smile gets even bigger. She nods back at the guy at her table. Blond Mohawk is staring like in his mind he’s hitting me with an imaginary shovel.
The girl stands there grinning. I’m grinning too, my eyes darting from side to side. The kurta-wearing waiter is standing a few metres away teetering toward the table. It’s a freaking Mexican standoff. What am I supposed to do now? Ask her name? Ask her where she grew up? Ask her for money?
This has only happened to me once – being recognised by a stranger on the street – and I’m terrible at it.
Luckily the girl takes control.
“Jason, right?” she says. “Can I have a photo?”
I stand up and we get close as she puts her arm out to take a self-portrait of us with her smart phone. Blonde mohawk guy is definitely shooting me with an imaginary machine gun right now. The phone makes a tinny, fake shutter snapping noise.
“Thanks! It was nice meeting you,” the girl says, glee bubbling out of her ears and I conclude that finding me eating alone, acting shell shocked while someone takes a photo, has got to be the most disappointing sighting of someone from TV in the history of ever.
The waiter returns. “Are you ready to order now, sir?”
Body shoot in three days but I close the page on the salads.
“I’ll take the Mega Bonanza Burger, with extra bacon.”
He nods and walks away. I already feel guilty for ordering a meal that is the equivalent of the weekly caloric intake of an infant but I tell myself I’ll do squats jumps until my legs collapse – even though I know I won’t.
When I look up it’s straight into Blonde Mohawk’s glare and I immediately signal the waiter to bring me a menu. Mostly it’s to hide behind, but I’m also curious about dessert.
> Jason Godfrey can be seen hosting The LINK on Life Inspired (Astro B.yond Ch 706).
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