Wednesday, 31 January 2007

On Broadway

Was just out lunching with me mate, AJ, when a bloke leaned into the restaurant and started shouting venomous go-back-to-where-you-came-from type insults to the group sitting in the window. Ever the Quixote, I jumped up, somehow thinking that my intervention would defuse the situation, restore peace to the people sitting in the window, pacify the angry man and smash racism the world over. By the time I'd begun making my impromptu this-is-not-ok speech, I belatedly registered that the angry man was an angry and very ill man. He couldn't see me, though I was standing an armlength away from him. One of the people at the table came and suggested (with thanks) that I ignore him. While I just stood there, a feckless would-be human shield, the man left. Which left Adrian to talk calm back into me over my basil tofu. I'm still shaking. How the people in the window are feeling, or the man, I can't imagine.

3 comments:

St John Nottlesby said...

What a harrowing experience! One of my most alarming public transport encounters was spending the trip from Elizabeth St to Maroubra Beach on a very crowded bus with an equally deranged chap who did not desist yelling "Kick the Reffos! Vote Liberal for hate!" What Mister Beazley was doing taking public transport flummoxes me to this day, but indeed it was an alarming spectacle.

alexis said...

Harrowing's the word. Not least because I had naively leapt up To Do Something, and only then realised that the situation was much more complicated than I'd imagined. One of the (many) sad things was that the people who were the targets of this abuse already had a non-reaction strategy in place, as if long experience had taught them how best to deal with being the objects of senseless anger. But then, the racism ended up being less troubling than the state of the man mouthing it. He was in a very bad way.

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