On Tuesday, Mr Frog drove me to Ikea so I could kit out my new office space. As always, when we are together, it doesn’t take long for us to remember why we split up in the first place. In this instance my near hysteria when I called him at 8am to wail that RenaultRent didn’t actually have the vehicle I reserved on the internet (and hadn’t bother to phone and advise me of the fact) reminded him of all the times I’d gone off the deep end in the past over trivial matters.
“Look. I’ve just woken up and I don’t need to hear this right now,” said Mr Frog groggily. “Call me when you’ve found another van.”
Once upon a time, that exchange would have deteriorated into some sort of fight, but not any more. Now he’s just a friend who has kindly offered to do me a favour, and must be treated accordingly. When one of us gets annoyed, all we have to do is walk away. A much healthier state of affairs for all concerned.
Later that day, tearing along the A1 motorway towards Paris Nord II, the atmposphere is relaxed, radio Nova is playing, and we are swapping Tadpole stories.
“Has she done that song for you, the one with the actions about Monsieur Grenouille?” I take special care over the word “grenouille” which is the single most difficult word for an anglophone to pronounce in the French language, in my opinion.
“Yes, the Mr Frog song. Very appropriate, I thought,” my own Mr Frog says with a smile. “Oh, that reminds me, I have something to tell you that you might want to use in your blog…”
“Well, I didn’t tell you this before, but I’ve been on meetic. I took out a four month trial subscription to see what it was like a while back, no photo or anything, I wasn’t going to mention it to you… But then yesterday I got an email from them with twenty profiles of women that might interest me. And yours was the first one in the list! How weird is that?”
“Wow. I don’t know whether that is proof of how well it works, or the opposite. Did you look at my profile? Or send me a tease? I haven’t logged in for ages, so I wouldn’t know…”
“No, I didn’t open it up, it didn’t feel right.”
The conversation moves onto other things. The girl he is going to visit. Tadpole’s bowel movements. Christmas presents. The day is a success, all in all: everything I need is in stock, we have a pleasant lunch in the Ikea cafeteria together and get back to Belleville in plenty of time to unload before school pick up time.
That night, nursing a lemsip and watching junk TV on my laptop in bed, the meetic story pops back into my mind. I’d pretty much given up on online dating. But, I reason, if there are people even half as cool as Mr Frog out there, it might just be worth swinging by for one last look.