Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All This Is About Nothing

There is a commotion behind me. A man who I had spoken to last week picks up the coffee cup he's knocked to the floor. Another man in a business suit is frantically wiping his shirt with paper napkins. "Careful", he says to me, pointing to a rivulet of coffee that is slowly approaching my foot. He sends an appealing glance around to the other customers of the cafe, then turns to the responsible party:

- You might at least apologize.
- Why? Spills are part of the hazards of everyday life. Don't leave home if you are afraid.
- You could at least offer to pay for cleaning.
- That's ridiculous. I would never ask you to pay if it happened to me. I'd put it past me.
- I'm trying to. Your attitude doesn't help.
- All this is about nothing.
- It's not your clothes that are ruined.
- Ruined! Don't exaggerate.
- Can you believe this guy?

I can. He is a millionaire financial speculator who had quickly made it clear to me that he was entitled to his wealth. He read philosophy. Had gone to Yale University.

A women customer says that if people learned to cooperate the world would be a better place.

"Huh," replies the Yale financial speculator and reader of philosophy.