I’m sitting quietly in my local ice-cream shop. I have my laptop. I am modestly dressed. Pretty much the only interesting thing about me is the nearly rubbed off blue puma transfer tattoo I got with my 10p chewing gum. (And I put it on my arm, not my face or anything. And when I say ‘puma’ I mean the animal, not the sports brand. To be fair, it could be a leopard or a cheetah. All my big cat knowledge comes directly from luxury car adverts). The ice-cream server approaches. ‘Do you have a minute?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘I am so fed up with big companies.’ ‘Oh.’ That was all I said. ‘Oh.’ That’s barely even a word. I could have been half-way through reciting the alphabet in my head and accidentally let slip an ‘o’. (Though, realistically, I would have been saying ‘elemenopee’). The point is, I pay taxes! (I think I do, anyway. I don’t really open my payslips. I think money should be shown the respect it deserves and not looked at. Like a fairy). I’m a good, upstanding citizen! When I sit in an ice-cream shop at 8.30am I should be allowed to eat my breakfast in peace.
But no. It seems nowadays, complete strangers will come up to a person quietly eating their way through a nutritiously valuable sundae and talk at them. I can only assume that they are out-of-towners. I don’t mean to be rude, obviously, so have taken to nodding meekly while they explain the intricacies of their latest phone bill debacle or their views on Cameron’s leadership. When they pause to take breath I quietly explain that I suffer from what I like to call ‘situation specific audio inefficiency’, but have been lipreading and assume they want to know where the toilet is. I then point to this, and nod sagely to myself. I don’t know when London turned into Lynchburg, Tennessee, but until they start lacing my breakfast ice-cream with whiskey, I’m not putting up with it. They will know by my impeccably veiled disdain that there are still a few proper Londoners left.