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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thursday March 6th, 2008: London: A Chat with a Genuine Bigot

I've always admired the English for their willingness to speak their minds, even to complete strangers. As an old-timey native New Yorker I sympathize with that urge, the urge to get the message out at any cost. Still, Londoners are far more ideological than New Yorkers.

R and I were walking down a side street near Kings Cross talking about all the Ethiopian shops and restaurants in the neighborhood. R is well familiar with London and was explaining the ebb and flow of different ethnic and national groups over the years since he first came to London as a boy.

We were standing outside of a butcher shop, admiring the excellent cuts of meat in the window, when a older man came shuffling out the door with a white plastic bag.

This gentleman looked a bit down on his luck. He was of medium, bent-over height, had long, greasy grey hair, a stained white beard and was wearing a soiled t-shirt and bedroom slippers. I'll call him G.

G: Hello, gentlemen! Fine cuts they have here!

R: Oh, yes. We were just wondering if we should buy some of the lamb. Looks very good.

G: It's fine! I've got two fresh chickens here, but not for myself, no! These are for the foxes!

Y: Which foxes?

G: Why, the foxes right here, of course! London is full of foxes and they must be fed to stay healthy. I have a young fox, a male, that comes by my back yard often for chicken. What a beauty he is!

Y: How remarkable. I had no idea that foxes lived in central London.

G: They do in considerable numbers, my friend. You know, I came to think of my foxes just last night while watching the news. In Afghanistan, they said, over a hundred were killed by a bomb while watching dog fights. And I say good job! Can you imagine, dog fighting? Those bastards richly deserved what happened to them! More, I say! Let them kill one another to a man - rather than come here with their damned business. Which they are doing anyways.

R: I take it you don't like immigration.

G: No, I don't! Those miserable buggers have been coming here for years and years and look what they've done to us! Look what they've done to the City! It's a damned disgrace. And now, as if things weren't bad enough, there's a black trying to be president in America. It just shows how low the world has sunk.

Y: Barack Obama is going to be the next president of the United States.

G: More the shame for the United States. It's unfathomable. Good day to you.

G limped off with his plastic bag, cursing to himself.

R watched him for a moment as he disappeared up a side street.

R: What a horrible character.

Y: A real misanthrope. But he likes foxes, apparently.

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