I am sitting in a cafe trying to enjoy some peace – the music machine is broken -- and to get some work done. I want to stay here because it is raining heavily and because I have things to get done.
Ten minutes ago a woman came in with a male child which she seated quite carefully in a chair and then disappeared towards the cakes until two minutes ago. During that time the child has been shouting to her at very high volume. The fool has acknowledged each and every shout with smiles and gestures and the child is learning that it is good to be noisy.
The fool has been joined by another fool who is encouraging them both in their folly and bad learning.
Ten feet away a man is wearing headphones and is trying to speak on a phone which he has pushed under the headphones. He uses the pressure of the phones to keep the phone in place, though this doesn't work, while he practices his aggressive bongo playing on the table. Cups and plates rattle.
The phone falls and he grabs for it. The headphones howl. The child bangs his plate on the table. The fools smile. They pay the child no attention except to worship it occasionally.
In my head I am praying to the ghost of Charles Whitman, who shot at his fellow human beings at random; but it brings no alleviation.
The child has just thrown a toy on the floor. The first fool has leant sideways to get it, while the child shouts, without pausing in her torrent of speech. She, the fool, begins to overbalance. Coffees spill on her table. She grabs for my table and I lift the computer away from the moron's grasp. Momentarily everything she is using and that I am using is in the air.
Not a word of apology as she pulls herself back. No one seems to exist for her but her. I suspect that if I challenged her I would discover it is her democratic right to behave with exclusive self-regard. Her friend has just said “Everything is progressing” and she has agreed.