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08 September 2007

Dining with hyenas

“YOU MUSTN'T go to the city,” she barked at him. “In fact, you will not go to the city.” There was silence, then laughter.

The barking and the laughter had been going on for twenty minutes now, and they were LOUD. In between were tales of New York City elevators and problems with the boss. She also wanted him to stop talking to a certain Neal, and he wanted her to drive the car tonight.

No, I was neither engaged in nor eavesdropping at this conversation: it was happening three tables away from me in this almost empty Japanese restaurant. After twenty minutes, I thought it was time to end the disturbing cacophony and finish my sushi in peace and quiet. So I turned towards the noisome storytellers with as much withering look as I could muster. The message was plain: the whole world DID NOT CARE TO HEAR their woes and tribulations.

The hyenas were an attractive young man and an equally gorgeous-looking girl friend. I immediately thought how the most annoying public disturbances belonged to pretty young things: loud mobile phone conversations in hybrid English, screeching Audis, Britney Spears-ish outfits, to name a few.

They easily saw my animosity amidst their animated discourse. He got my message and beckoned for her to lower her voice. She refuted the message and huffed loudly instead, “Some people.”

The battle lines were drawn, but I decided not to pick up the fight. It was useless to rage against nonchalance and youth (and gorgeous looks). If you can't beat 'em, eat your sushi. I gathered my lunch plate and sat as far away as possible and decided to focus on the sliver of salmon on my tekkamaki.

Fine, they got the last laugh (and bark). But at least I got my bliss!


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