Oh to be in England
I was in London for a few days this past week, mostly to play chess, partly to remind myself how horrible it is to come into Liverpool Street, your first taste of England other than the airport and the train, and the first things you see are the rubbish strewn all over the street and the drunkards strewn all over the pavements.
On Monday evening I went to my old favourite pub in Brixton, the Trinity Arms: the first thing I heard after I got through the door was one woman saying to another: "don't you think we've been overrun by other nationalities?"
There was a time - a time lasting about twenty-five years - when I would have had something to say to somebody who said something like that. But these days I'm trying to cut down on the hopeless struggle against ignorance in order to make it easier to struggle against stress. So I went and sat in the corner of the pub furthest from the victim of oppression, took out a book and reflected that one advantage of being an immigrant is that usually, when people are mouthing off in bars, you don't know that they're doing it. Because you can't understand what they're saying.