Thursday, May 26, 2016
The Conversation at the Next Table
In a small restaurant Tanya was waiting for three of her friends. She had arrived early and ordered some coffee. In the waiting for her friends she had emptied her cup, and now looked around for something to focus her attention on.
Sitting around a table next to hers, four people, two men and two women were sitting. They were seemingly friendly, but still sort of in a quarrel. Tanya decided to listen to them.
“Don't pretend,” one the men said, “that they didn't try to convince him that he should see himself as the ordinary kind of a fellow! It's not he but they who really tried to keep religion pure!”
“Then how come,” the other man asked, “they didn't try to listen to His teachings?”
As the discussion continued, it seemed evident to Tanya that the discussion was about religion. Probably, she figured, one man and one woman, of the four, were Catholics, and the other two were Jews. It seemed that they were discussing to which extent Christ had been good or not for the world.
Eventually, two of her three friends arrived. These two were a married couple. For some reason, just about then, Tanya also concluded that the four people consisted of two married couples.
Tanya looked at the husband of the couple with whom she was befriended. He and she had earlier flirted. But now she couldn't bring herself to it. It seemed, in a sense, to be because of some guilt she might have for that wife of his, but she knew, and her husband as well, that she also flirted around, and probably went to bed fairly easily with other fellows.
The wife looked at Tanya and said: “My brother will be a bit late, so if you don't mind, I propose that we all order lunch before he arrives. He asked me to order a stake for him.”
“Of course I don't mind that, Sally!” Tanya answered and waved to a waiter to come to their table. However he didn't. Then Sally waved towards another waiter who did go to their table and take orders.
After ordering, Sally and her husband began discussing their daughter, which Tanya didn't find interesting. She needed, she felt, to ponder upon if she was guilty of flirting with too many guys. Because she had, at all, flirted also with Sally's brother. But she couldn't quite come to any conclusion about it.
Eventually a waitress turned up and served two plates, and half a minutes later a waiter with the other two. Sally then said that she felt sure that her brother wouldn't mind if they began eating without him. This turned out to be true, after a few minutes, when he arrived, and said: “My, this is cozy!” and began eating. “There's nothing like good friends!” he continued, and seemed very much to mean it. The four of them began to chat and muse about this view on their friendship.
After a short while he added: “I feel that we all should be trying to have a little party, just for good friends! Perhaps like ten people or so can arrive!?”
Tanya looked at him. Somehow she felt awkward about being into mingling, so she answered: “I wonder what all the good friends will think of us if they don't have it in us to be seemingly into enough geniality or so, for us to be alternatives of being self-occupied!”
“What do you mean by that?!” Sally asked her.
“There's no absolute notion in me anymore, that I can feel genial about a party! There's somehow a notion of Christ, or perhaps it's Moses of something, in the atmosphere around us! It seems,” she said pointing, “that those four people are into religion in sense that makes one of us, at least, fed up with being into - ehm - vices.”
Sally's husband looked at Tanya and asked: “How in the world can you think that those four people can affect you, and then perhaps also us, about it!”
“Oh, I just felt,” Tanya answered, “that their discussion about Christ and whatever has weakened me, at least, against their opinions about sex and such! I feel also that perhaps each of you would also be affected had you happened to be listening to them - as I was when I was waiting for you!”
Sally and her husband looked at each other. “I feel,” he answered, “that what you say doesn't make sense, and that they are just four people talking!”
“I feel,” Sally said, “that whatever you're into of sex, you should not disturb our party with these feelings of that we have the same lusts for such adventures!”
Sally's brother said that he felt that Sally wasn't in her right mind.
The four people at the next table had stopped talking, and turned their heads towards Tanya's table. “I feel,” the woman whom Tanya guessed was Jewish said, “that whatever we have been discussing is actually none of your business, and that whatever you say, you don't have a point in hating us for that we have been trying to connect about our faiths!”
The man who seemed to be Catholic said immediately that he agreed, and soon after both the others at that table, and even Sally, her brother and her husband, too.
Tanya looked at them, first at her own friends, and then at the four people whom she was accusing. She felt that she was being badly treated as someone who didn't have a point. “I can,” she said, “see to it that you can understand that I feel that way because they were discussing it as though they had the only point in the universe! That is, both sides of the discussion were having an only point, so to speak!”
The man how seemed to be a Jew rose from his seat. “Look, lady!” he said. “We don't have to discuss this with you! And you didn't have to overhear our conversation in the first place!”
Tanya looked at him and answered: “How come you feel that superior without admitting tha tyou don't have a point, when all you do is quarrel with each other!?”
The seemingly Catholic man sighed to show resentment. He, but not the two ladies , began looking at Tanya with severe disgust and dismay over her seeming incapacity to see moral as adaptable to whatever religion the holders of it pertained to. The two ladies, meanwhile, looked at each other and seemed to agree that this was a lady whom they never wanted to be acquainted with.
Tanya looked at them. She felt that she ridiculed them enough by saying: “I don't feel threatened by you since you're into Christ or Abraham or something, and that you feel that they, those icons of yours, are, respectively, the antidote for everything that isn't of your peculiar faiths!”
Now the (seemingly) Catholic woman gave her an eye of dismay that was severely devastating to her self-security. Then, a moment later, she seemed very friendly, but scornfully into thinking she was supreme. Her (seemingly) Jewish friend said: “What do you think you are, discussing things like that when you're not into religion in the first place?!”
Tanya felt crushed. She didn't think that this could happen to her. Now she felt alone about caring about morals in sin, and alone in caring about morals not being everything there is to seeing value in things. Now, she felt, she regretted that she had ever eves-dropped on the four people on the table beside hers. ...