Today’s lunch break was, unusually, an enormous irritation.
I made my way to a small boutique style café in Soho which serves particularly interesting vegetarian food - yet another diet direction of late. I looked forward to sitting in this pretty, peaceful little establishment, minding my own business. I arrived early to secure a spot and sat at one of only two high empty tables in the place (it's that cute) and ordered my lovely salad. I watched various people come in and out of the café and order take-away or gaze lovingly at the beautiful arrangement of home-made cakes in the little window. Outside in the background people darted in and out of doors for cover from the ceaseless rain which seems to always decide to wait til lunchtime or home time to put in an appearance. Our Summery weather of late has crashed and died in a spectacularly grim fashion.
Eventually a group of extremely well spoken young women came in. Polished looking. Chatting away. They rather apologetically asked me if I would mind if they shared my table. The seating means you all become best buddies in a heart beat whether you want to or not. Of course I didn’t mind since that was the nature of this little place and assumed the chatter would be low key and banal given our collective circumstances. I hadn’t bargained at all on them discussing in suddenly super obnoxious tones who they had voted for in the ongoing Labour leader elections. As Party members. And why. One of them was American. She listened and questioned her friends about the leadership contest. This went on for some time and for most of it I managed to escape into my food or click on my iphone and text or email friends. Anything to avoid being by default pulled right into the heart of their politics with no way of escape. Eventually however the conversation turned into one where Boris our mayor was a posh cretin and Conservatives are all “disconnected Etonites”. Then to top it all off the American girl chimed in to open up a conversation about how racist Republicans connived to make a big deal of that bloody mosque. For no other reason than they were racist.
You have to appreciate that this was not a conversation at the next table or behind me. This was a conversation into which I was plunged whether I wanted to be or not as though I were one of their group.
I’m sick to death of the assumption in political conversation that everyone these days is a leftist and that right of centre must simply shut up and speak in hushed embarrassed tones or accept Left is the only polite political conversation to be had out loud these days. So that was my opening shot. “Ok I’ve had enough” I addressed them quietly, smiling.
“Just how unfeeling and immature is it to decide for some of the tragic families and co workers of 9/11 victims or anyone else opposed to this mosque’s location what they think? Or how stupid is it to assume that great swathes of people in America, some 60% who are opposed to the location of this mosque are irrelevant racists? Or that their feelings should be automatically chalked up as racist because you say so? What gives you the right to decide that the argument is about banning Islam in NYC? It’s not - even if your dimwitted President decided it should be. It’s quite possibly about tolerance of other people’s feelings outside of your selective leftist groups”. Stumbling over her words to find a retort I decided not to give her the chance and addressed her friends. “Unrelatably Eton eh? I’ve never heard anything quite so moronic as a bunch of upper class newbie graduates from the Home Counties who were undoubtedly funded all the way through University by mummy and daddy indulging the tired old class debate wherein you, ladies, you in particular sporting that whopping great Tiffany’s engagement ring and the Manolos, feel you can better relate to an out of work manual labourer up in Newcastle. Tyne and Wear ladies. That would be the area the Labour Party ruthlessly shafted, whilst pretending to be for the working classes. Before they were outright dumped out of government having left the country up to it's eyeballs in debt. Noone gives a crap who Labour elects as it’s leader. Least of all me”. “Next time you decide to sit this close to someone who can’t leave because she just ordered her lunch and is now wedged in with you lot don’t assume being in Soho means everyone shares the same dim witted liberal point of view. Speak in the hushed embarrassed tones you ought to given the mess your Party made”.
Absolute silence descended on a table full of flushed red faces which I decided not to up and leave as I’d just ordered a cup of tea. After a minutes silence and some mortified looks the conversation moved on to knickers. Thankfully.