a quick note on oddness

i'm at my favourite pub yesterday, Ye Old White Harte, having a pint and doing some writing. the main room is a warm, old and quiet place populated mainly by those who appear to be locals, older folks and businessmen in suits taking extended lunches. it's windy and cloudy outside, brisk as fall sets in on the yorkshire coast. i take my place next to one of two crackling fireplaces in the Harte, the one closer to the bar. friendly conversation floats lazily around the old wood and seeps like smoke over pints of Deuchars and London Pride. there is a handcarved Theakston brewing sign that has been in the same place since the 1881 remodel of the building and most of the furniture is from even earlier eras.

it's not easy to find, the pub. one must wind through Hull's old town streets, as narrow as one would think before passing by a small covered alleyway. there is a steel gate that sits open at all times but one has to think that all of these buildings were built up and up and around, the architects occassionally forgetting about the gathering place. i feel safe here, comfortable that this is, physically and mentally, almost as isolated as i could be.

until i hear a brash greeting from across the room. it sounds like the type of man who, when you see him coming, you look busy. when he talks to you he is either chewing gum, wearing sunglasses inside or jangling keys or change loudly in his pocket as though to provide an irritating percussion accompaniment to some spoken word performance from hell. speaking loudly with his wife by his side, a 50-something american man strikes up conversation with an englishman regarding the upcoming presidential election. the victim asks who he is going to vote for and, proudly, he announces that McCain is the only vote for himself. and it's not because Obama is black.

thank god, i say to myself, because that would just be rude. my own sarcasm makes my blood boil and i have the instinctive urge to burn the place down so this conversation doesn't go any farther. so no more damage can be done. i see two gentleman at the bar turn their shoulders away from the direction of the conversation and take sore sips at half-pints of Guinness. i want to apologize but i say nothing. the american man showers the pub with his opinions, occassionally asking his wife if she agrees with him. yes, quite is her response most of the time. i shudder. he proclaims that they're from indiana, a red state in the middle of the "liberal fortress".

fortress? what is this, a cowboy comic?

instead of speaking up and inflaming the situation, i let the man keep talking and asking his wife to agree with him. i let him keep thinking that he was the only american in the room. i let him do this. no, i just couldn't say anything. i felt the need to protect this place from such displays. for my own good, don't ruin this for me, asshole. this is my pub. and then i realized i was thinking exactly what he must be thinking.


1 comment:

Jo said...

On the note of politics, you're far away and all, but are you signed up for an absentee ballot?

Don't forget to vote.