A friend called me the other evening … well, an acquaintance called me. As they say in New Zealand, "he was pissed." An American would say he had been drinking … to excess. It seems like that is the only time I get a call from this particular person, after he's had quite a few under his belt. Each time, I suspect he's had too much to be able to dial on his own, so his wife, a wonderful lady, probably pushes the buttons for him.
He slurred that he was having a drink with a nice fellow from 'my' part of the world. I said, "You mean an American?" He said, "Yeah, a Yank! Here, I'll put him on."
So the next thing I know I'm talking to someone I didn't know and had never met. It was an awkward moment but eventually I asked him where he was from? He first said San Francisco then quickly added "Oakland" then, after a pause, finally admitted Berkely.
This 'drill-down' to his place of origin seemed interesting to me but, what the heck, it was a phone call to someone I didn't know and would never talk to again. We spoke for a few moments and then he put his drunken friend back on.
I heard him slur that his mate was a pretty good guy with only one thing wrong … he voted for Obama. Now this is coming from a guy, a Kiwi, that can't help but make snide, insulting remarks about GW Bush every time he gets within earshot of me. Without a doubt he was stirring, but I've known him for awhile so I let it pass.
That's why he's referred to as an acquaintance and not a friend. I, long ago, got tired of 'so called' friends insulting someone; they know I have respect for, every time they get a chance. Friends don't do this. I have put up with this rude behaviour for a long time but as I age, it seems I have a shorter fuse.
As if his inane statement about his drinking partner's voting preferences isn't enough, he shouts to those assembled on his end; "This guy is a Bush man" … meaning me of course. He added, "He was upset when Bush lost the election."
At that, the guy I had just talked to, and didn't know from Adam, made a derogatory remark about me! The drunk says, "Did you hear that?" I told him I didn't hear what he said, it sounded insulting and I would like to know exactly what he did say.
Apparently, my acquaintance wasn't so drunk because he knew that he had better not repeat it. He wouldn't tell me what he said; I was in no mood to continue so we said good-bye.
Now that the US has a new President, the glare of the spotlight will change. I suspect some of these people will be lost without being able to spew their vitriol at anyone, interested or not. They will surely feel a loss; it will be an end to an era where they and the mainstream media formed a union of conviction … in all senses of the word. Times are changing though, and they may find that the heyday of small people, sporting inane, selfish rage is over.
With regard to President GW Bush, I never did agree with him on everything but, I did respect him as a man and as President. You can't please everyone. But he has pleased many of us. I will miss his decency and warmth. I will miss his fundamental goodness. I will miss, especially, his determination to do what he thought right for America.
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