As California wildfires rage just a half hour, forty-five minute drive north of me…….the only reason you would know this is happening is from the smoke haze in the air, making particularly astounding sunsets of late out here.
The Red Cross and The Salvation Army are there, as well as over fourteen thousand firefighters from across the world. It’s the biggest wildfire in the State of California’s history. Yes, people are losing their homes. Some life has been lost……but the vast majority is the wild golden hills and chaperral…….the state has blamed this fire on
“climate change” and one outlet dared to lay the blame on “Trumps hostile policies towards the environment”
I guess there was never a California wildfire before 2017. The people swallow it, repete what they hear and say the same buzzline to others to make themselves look “informed” and of course to be a non-conformist…..because we all know “chicks dig that”. In “1984” this was called ‘duckspeak’ in INGSOC / Newspeak
Anyway, last night I decided to finally go out “later than usual” for some dinner, walking downtown……a block away, lights in the trees, crowded…..people eating, enjoying and taking in the scene, busy brew pubs, restaurants full, many stores still open and business looked brisk!
I walked down a narrow side street and came upon a place that said “Toad In The Hole, An English Pub” I never noticed this place before…….it wasn’t empty, but not too full. I glanced inside through the large clean windows facing the street. Hmmmm, A huge “Srgt. Pepper” framed poster on the wall. I saw “Boddingtons” on tap. Big screen TV at the bar with a rugby match on…….a large Union Jack, along with smaller sized flags from Scotland and Wales. No Irish flags? Good. A place worthy of my business.
I entered, the bartender spake in a thick, street British accent……..”Have a seat anywhere……I’ll be over in a minute.” Music was on, but a small band was setting up to perform……looked like a reggae band of sorts. A bunch of dreads, rasta doohickeys on their clothing….pan-African colors……..but the stereo was on and playing some early UB40 track……..before thay became just a cover band of stupid love songs……..
I sat at the bar, ordered a bowl of mash and gravy. He hesitated…waiting for my beer selection to be ordered. I asked of tea. He nodded, gave me a me a quizzical look and went about his business.
A woman next to me said she loved my jacket, and she had a lovely British accent. She was having a wine, and her boyfriend gave me a quick once-over and seemed assured very quickly I was “no threat” to his amazing skills of getting a cute girlfriend or “stealing her away from him”
I just said “thanks” and looked around the place…..tables with clathces of women talking non-stop, a few solo guys watching rugby. A bunch more people buried in their phones. I was the oldest person in here.
The same woman suddenly touches..my arm….well, lightly pushes my arm…….she says “You know I said I liked you jacket.”
“And I said thanks.” I replied smiling.
“Well, why won’t you tell me about it…..where did you get it?”
She had a lovely accent, but I could tell she was a little buzzed. She was about 30. Tattoo all over her upper shoulder. Boyfriend in a baseball cap, buried in his phone. She was pretty, but I am still puzzled how people meet. Her boyfriend looked like he had a poker shoved up his rectum, and a personality of a doornail……but ahhhhh…….yes, the lethal profile, good head of hair..dimple on the chin..about as tall as me…a guy that never had to do anything from being a teenager onward to get a woman to talk to him, date him, and do anything he asked sexually. Life is just so not fair.
Yes, makes sense now.
I just said “Ben Sherman” coolly, and then continued to check this place out……..the woman was about to say something else to me when the bartender came back with a tea, and the bowl of mash…….he asked “cream? sugar?” I just shook my head ‘no’ said “thank you” and he then said “Noticing your pin, on your postman’s bag…….are you Welsh?”
“Half” I said. “My mother was from there.”
He laughed out of sympathy I think….Brits are so hard to read. They could be cutting you to ribbons with a smile on their face, and you are thinking that they like you……”Well, don’t be wearing that during a Wales / England match in here, otherwise, welcome……this is my place and I am glad you came by tonight. Enjoy. Just yell when you need anything else…..the band is going start in a bit.” he replied.
I was just about to put a forkful of mash in my mouth, it smelled delicious…the woman next to me drunkenly touches my arm again “Oh you’re Welsh……..you don’t look Welsh, do you speak? Oh probably not…..”
I at this point, interrupted her, and began to speak Welsh, leered in seductively and said “Yes I do frankly, and I would actually like to enjoy my mashed potatos…..and please talk to your boyfriend instead of me unless you are in the process of dumping him.”
She looked at me, shocked and said “Oh, that was so beautiful…….such a gorgeous poetic language……I understand Welsh (I snickered hard), well…not really….only a few naughty words.” She said coyly, and gently squeezed my arm. “….And I didn’t hear you use any.” She winked.
I took a sip of the tea. Man. Spot on. Excellent.
“How on earth did you learn Welsh?” She said, “Did you live or study there?”
“No, my mother taught me.” I replied while picking up the fork again trying to eat my mash.
“How lovely, she must be an intelligent woman……is she here in town? I work for the British Consulate in San Francisco. My boyfriend and I came up here for the weekend to enjoy the wineries……..I would just love to meet her.”
I smiled and said “No, she’s not.” and I leaned back slightly while saying “She’s this.” I closed my eyes, and crossed my arms. After a second or two, I fronted myself properly, and picked up the fork to eat the mash…
Again. She tries to talk to me “Oh, so sorry to hear that…..Mark, his mother was from the UK, and she died.” She said to her boyfriend, still buried in his phone………..Mark is his name…………he ignores her. Mark was not British. He had a SF Giants baseball cap on and was as American as I was……
At this point, I got up, moved one spot over at the bar, slid my bowl of mash over to the new spot, slid my tea. Ignored her and sat back down to enjoy myself.