Sunday, February 8, 2009

Overheard at the Café

This morning, adorned only in unassuming streetwear, I ventured into town for a coffee. I overheard the following conversation between two society hens:

"Beatrice, what do you know of Nigel Tewksbury?"

"He can be amusing. But I deem it wise to keep your distance."

"And why's that?"

"Well... I've heard he does strange things to cats."

"Oh, I don't think there's any truth to that. It's a rumour started by his rival."

"Patricia I just don't know. There's something about him. Something so peculiar.... And... he's a bit of an alcoholic. To be honest, I'm afraid of him."

"It's true, he can be rather vulgar. He called Sebastian an 'affected piece of shit' when all he did was raise an eyebrow. Vile man. Especially when he's drunk"

"Especially when he's drunk."

At this point I coughed loudly to make myself known. I whipped off my sunglasses and capped my flask. Obviously the situation was awkward, but over the years I've learned to embrace awkwardness. One cannot be afraid of social conventions; they do not bite. I knew I had to put on a performance while maintaining my new-found ideals.

I pulled up a chair, sat on it back-to-front like a teenager, and said, "Hello Beatrice, Patricia. How are you?" And I thought, I shall take the high road, although I could easily insult them and make them cry because they are both old--a good ten years past the twilight of their mating age.

"Mr. Tewksbury! How do you do?" said one of the bitches, shrill and flustered.

"Well I feel like I have just been slapped in the face--not to mention a little tight--but that's alright. In fact the latter is quite good."

"Oh... Yes, well..."

"Yes, well, I am an ass whilst drunk. And I do drink quite a bit. But I am not an alcoholic and my love for cats is purely platonic. They are beautiful, mysterious creatures," and I thought, Nothing like you dogs.

"Oh there's no need."

"Yes, there is no need to explain. You are quite right. How's Harold?"

Before Beatrice had a chance to respond, I interrupted her: "Actually, fuck Harold, if he'll take you. Your gabbing disgusts me, you smelly, obsolete old bags."

I smacked the table and left. No doubt they thought it rather rude.

So, perhaps, in the end, I didn't take the high road, but I did tell the truth, which, I think, is the higher ideal. I am also a firm believer that what's good for the gander is good for the goose and that gossipy old bags will go to hell quicker than a chap who likes a few drinks with his coffee. You must understand, I am not a bad man, at least not anymore, but kindness and manners have their limitations and are entirely ineffective if you are trying to teach a lesson to two stupid old women.

1 comment:

kathy said...

It is a sad thing that insulting palaver is still practiced, especially among those who are supposed to be otherwise mature, intelligent human beings. I consider it "self-righteousness" when people harshly judge and condemn others. A lesson learned from childhood, Dear Nigel, instructs that one should show the other kindness when shown cruelty, depending on the circumstances, of course. Harsher measures could be met depending on the scope of the offense.

Have you decided to stay a while?