I'm enjoying the chance to eat out. So please just leave us alone | Josie Pagani

JOSIE PAGANI

STRAIGHT AND TRUE

I'm enjoying the chance to eat out. So please just leave us alone

We were dining in one of those retro Wellington restaurants. It was Halloween. I had my dinner companions in what I imagined to be thrall to my geopolitical wit and insight.

“The letter from some Democrats calling on President Biden to negotiate with Putin was so horrifying,” I quipped, “it could go trick or treating dressed as itself.” Turning to the UK I was rising to a fresh punchline when, suddenly, before I could say “Rishi Sunak has the gelled hair of a Ronald Reagan mask”, the waiter leaned in:

“IS EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT WITH YOUR MEAL?”

I know there are other awful things going on. Families of 13 living in a one-room motel unit. Mortgage interest rates. What with the war in Ukraine, and the prospect of one in Taiwan, I’m worried about what kind of world we're leaving Keith Richards. It’s precisely because the cost of living is going to hell in a hand basket, and it costs so much to go out, that I am motivated to communicate if I am not getting my money's worth.

To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, I am perfectly aware that there are greater problems facing civilisation than my interrupted dining experience. But this is something we can all change at a stroke. God knows, we need to believe change is possible.

Josie's exasperation about cafe service is here.