Oh, American Strife

| Friendly | July 28, 2014

(I am in the UK for a year, studying. I have been having a VERY bad day. I decide to go to a cafe that has a salad I really like, as a treat to feel a bit better. I order from the waiter, and then pull out my Kindle to read for a bit while I wait. There is another girl sitting at a table next to me, and she watches me while I order. As I’m sitting with my Kindle she calls out to me.)

Girl: “You there!”

Me: “Huh? Yes?”

Girl: “You’re an American, aren’t you? Or a Canadian?”

Me: “Yes, I’m American.”

(I go back to my Kindle because I don’t want to talk.)

Girl: “Are you a Christian, then, too?”

Me: “Huh? What?”

Girl: *points to my crucifix* “You’re a Christian, then?”

Me: “Yes.”

Girl: *laughs* “Well, you certainly won’t fit in here then at all! Everyone in England is an atheist!”

Me: “I see.” *back to Kindle*

Girl: “So that bothers you, then, doesn’t it?”

Me: *getting flustered* “What?”

Girl: “It bothers you that we’re all atheists.”

Me: “Miss—”

Girl: “My name is Wendy.”

Me: “Whatever. Look, I really just want to be left alone right now. I’ve had a rough day.”

(I go back to my Kindle, again. Suddenly she stands up, leaves her table, and seats herself in the chair opposite me at my table.)

Girl: “I can tell it bothers you.”

Me: “What are you doing? It’s not my problem. I’m trying to read right now, so could you please go back to your table?”

Girl: “It’s a PROBLEM? You think atheism is the problem? I’M the one with the problem? You’re saying we all have a problem?”

Me: “I do not want to argue. I want to read. Please go back.”

Girl: “If I’m the one with the problem, then you please explain to me why you believe what you believe. And I’ll tell you what I know to be true. So, go on, start. Start talking. We’ll see who has the problem.”

Me: “Look, I take it you already know about Christianity.”

Girl: “More than you!”

Me: “Well, Jesus said that if we find someone who doesn’t believe after they’ve been taught about him, we’re supposed to shake the dust off our feet and move on.”

Girl: “I don’t care what Jesus said. That’s not even true. No one has ever done that. If that were true, then human history wouldn’t be the bloody mess that it is because of killing in the name of your God. For f**k’s sake, Jesus never said that. That’s pathetic.”

Me: “Well, I’m shaking the dust off my feet. I can’t answer for anyone else, and I don’t have to. I have had a very bad day. And I’m trying to read and relax. I’ve already told you. I am not, I repeat to you, NOT, going to argue with you. Now go back to your own table, and I’ll go back to my book.”

Girl: “Well, if you’re going to walk around declaring yourself a righteous believer you’d better be prepared for when someone asks you to explain yourself.”

Me: “…”

Girl: *leans in closer* “Well? Are you afraid?”

Me: “…”

Girl: “Hey! HEY! Are you afraid, you Yank happy-clappy cow? Are you?!”

(At this point my waiter shows up with my salad. Another man in the restaurant uniform, who I assume is the manager or owner, is rushing to my table with him.)

Manager: “You there, at the table. Is this your table?”

Girl: “Me? No, I was over there.”

Manager: “Why did you move?”

Girl: “She and I were talking.”

Manager: “You were talking, were you? Did she ask you over here to talk?”

Me: “No!”

Girl: “No, I came over. I wanted to talk.”

Manager: “It sounds like you wanted to do a lot more than just chat.”

Girl: “What? I don’t know -”

Manager: “The other diners here were saying you were being quite loud and disruptive.”

Girl: “I just wanted to talk, really, but she was being rather short with me, and—”

Manager: “Did we not just establish that she did not invite you to her table? She has every reason to be short with you. Did she not ask you to leave her alone?”

Girl: “Well, she did, but I… I thought she was being rude.”

Waiter: “Should we have her sit back at the other table?”

Manager: *to waiter* “Hold on.” *to Girl* “Was it you or her that sat down at the other’s table without an invitation and insist on arguing with her?”

Girl: “I wasn’t arguing!”

Manager: “Right.”

Girl: “She refused to speak with me!”

Manager: “Right. You can go home now.”

Girl: “I didn’t do anything wrong! I got cross at the end, but that’s just because she was so—”

Manager: “Go home.”

Girl: “Ugh. You know, I get harassed by these people all the time.”

Manager: “Maybe that’s because you harass them first. Now, GO. HOME.”

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