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474. Retreat (XIII)

I live in a village that has been swallowed by a suburb, so you can walk from here—over a motorway bridge—for fifteen solid miles to the city centre. So, really, this is where the city ends. I can walk out from my house to the fields; and if I turn, as I once did, and walk in the other direction I can go all the way into the city on foot.

The village-suburb attracts certain types. The other day, I sat in the village’s hipster coffee shop. You can tell it is so because it has a big communal table. A very unEnglish idea, to have a communal table for people to sit at—we are not on the Continent, the English are quiet and contained. But hipsterdom is international—the same in Tehran or Brooklyn—and so we have a communal table.

As I sat there, a man in his sixties joined me—at the table’s far end, of course. He immediately sat with folded arms and waited for his coffee and buttered sourdough; yet even when the waitress brought it he kept his arms folded between sips and bites. There are some people who have a strong psychic aura; for example, my aunt, when she is home, fills the house—I can “feel” her several rooms away; and my grandmother was the same. Partly it is Welshness, the Welsh are very emotional; and you can feel the emotions throb away. When my mother is in the house, by contrast, there is no trace at all. It is the same at work and with friends, I can “feel” certain people approach—feel that they are in the building, or left.

I think this aura relates to how satisfied you are with life, the less satisfaction the bigger the aura. The man at the table had a huge aura. He was discontented with me, just because I exist—and probably because he has a dissatisfied internal voice that judges and hectors; and so he was busy putting me in a category, and working out why I was “bad” and he was “good”. I know the type, and I knew I had to be careful because this type looks for a pretext to start an argument and play the victim. They might have a nice house and be well-beloved on paper, but usually they have spent years lying and manipulating people—womanishly—in a big corporation; and when they retire they keep looking for people to play games with, to trip up and show up; just like they manoeuvred a colleague into redundancy with lots of subtle little games one time.

Sure enough, when he finished, the man picked up his empty plate and coffee cup and delivered them back to the counter. The café runs on waitress service, so he broke the unstated rule. Naturally, the girl thanked him effusively (if insincerely), “So kind, aw, so sweet.” And, of course, she did so because it was not “sweet” or “kind”, it was passive aggressive—he wanted them in his debt, and he implicated they did not clear tables fast enough.

I see this miserable type all the time; they mutter under their breath, “Skinhead,” when I walk into Costa—the more corporate coffee shop—because they are bitter old women, they talk under their breath like bitter old women. They want me to snap at them and then they can say, “Nothing, mate. It’s nothing. This young thug has a problem. He’s mental. Call the police, call the police.” In other words, they are women. These men are alive from the biological perspective but are really dead; all they have is that manipulative girly act and years upon years of unexpressed resentment. They have money, but they do not understand property; they act like they own cafes and pubs; they try to “police” other people, passive aggressively—even though it is not their property, it is really the owner’s business and not their responsibility.


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