We had lunch yesterday in my favourite cafe in Glebe. I can no longer say "one of my favourite cafes", because we go out for lunch so rarely, I don't get the chance these days to sample the delights of many and various establishments. A fabulous breakfast these days consists of me and Monkey sharing a couple of soft boiled googy eggs with toast soldiers.
But we had an opportunity to go out for once, and we grabbed it with boths hands and split.
Glebe must now be the home of the conscience of the world. Newtown used to be like that, then it gentrified and the character of the cafes changed from home-spun hippy hang outs to something much more chic and hip. Out when the fusty old hippies and the broke students with facial piercings and in came the yuppies with $900 reading glasses.
The broke students, hippies and other assorted types have migrated across to Glebe. As we left our cafe, I noticed that the table by the door was occupied by four women in their 20's, all with stubble on their heads, rings through their noses, combat boots on their feet and all the other accouterments of their sect (whatever that was). It's funny how sometimes those seeking to be alternative all end up looking exactly the same, with a "uniform" to boot.
The food at this place was as great as usual, and the coffee is always very drinkable. It's a fusty old place, meaning it has great big beaten up comfy chairs to slouch into, and they don't give you the eyeball of corporate death if you stay more than half an hour (we stayed an hour and a half, feeding and chatting - although most of that time was spent waiting for all our food to arrive!)
Let me tell you how good the food is. Since I had just come off a 50km ride, I thought I would be healthy and ordered a homemade muesli with cranberry juice and yogurt. I figured that since it was cheap, if it was terrible, I'd feed it to someone else and order some bacon and eggs instead. But the thing is, it was fantastic! I was blown away - no one makes muesli that nice! It's nuts and grains and other boring things, and the only people that should like eating it are hippies with no taste buds - but I really liked it. I almost had seconds. It's that kind of place.
The place had two defects though - one temporary and one permanent.
The temporary problem is that someone walked their dog along the laneway just after we arrived, and the dog did the crap from hell just over the wall from where we were sitting. The dog must have been the size of a yak, and been eating nothing but mung beans, because everytime the breeze blew our way, we all got a dose of steaming dog crap smell wafting in through the open windows. Above all else, that smell said "welcome to the third world!" I guess you could call it an authentic experience in that regard.
The permanent problem is the composition of their clientele. We were the only non-mung bean types in there. The rest had rings through their noses, or sat alone, reading Sartre and drinking tea. They were clearly all very involved with the problems of the world, such as Earth Hour and so on, and they were the gloomiest bunch of unhappy people that I have ever seen. If their faces get any longer, they'll start to look like John Kerry.
I love listening to Mark Levin on my iPod on the way to work - he is a kick-arse conservative. One of his favourite lines is that socialists are all about spreading misery. I've always listened to that line with a pinch of salt, but after seeing that shower of marxists, socialists, fabians and watermelons in that cafe, and how utterly miserable they all looked, I can only conclude that he is right on the money.
You see, I don't care much about the wider problems of the world. I care about my problems, and the problems of my family. If our friends ask us to help out with their problems, then I care about theirs as well - but only by request. That's more than enough for me. I figure that if we all look after ourselves and our own, then the world will be a better place. I can't solve your problems for you. You have to solve your problems. I can help you along a bit from time to time, but in the end, it's up to you to fix whatever issues you are facing.
Those poor old hippies though - at 20 years of age, they are bent and twisted like old women, weighed down with the problems of the world, prematurely aged by worrying about things that they have no hope of solving. And the thing is, even if we do solve the problems that they are most worried about, they will simply find something else to worry about. I think of these members of the "permanent protesting class" as younger Woody Allen's in bad footwear. All they do is worry, worry, worry, and it makes them miserable.
And deep down, they can't stand it. They resent us for being happy. They resent the fact that we have worked hard and climbed up the corporate ladder and bit and made good money, saved some of it, invested some of it, and reached a stage where we are comfortable and pretty content. We don't have a brand new Mercedes and a plasma TV in every room in the house, for we don't need those things to be happy. We don't have a white picket fence either, but we are living our version of the good life.
And the hippies hate us for it. And they want us to be as miserable as them. Their whole lives are not geared towards doing things that will improve our daily lives - they are geared to making everyone else as miserable as possible - or at least as miserable as they are.
If you don't believe me, just go find a cafe that serves free trade coffee, and have a look at the emotional tone of the place. If this particular cafe handed our razor blades with each cup of coffee, we would have been the only table not sitting in a pool of blood.