I just came back from lunch at Interlude.
Beside me were a couple, apparently from New York but temporarily resident on the Island. They were having an argument. A persistent, complex-sounding argument that went on and on and on. And at voice levels such that it was impossible for me to not get dragged into it, yet quiet enough so that I had no real idea of the substance. There were lots of exasperated statements like “I try to communicate, but you never listen.”
All of this was made more disturbing by the antagonists dropping out of inward-argue mode and into outward “cold enough for you?” mode as their friends and aquaintances walked by. For some reason, seeing this public, private, public, private flip was quite stressful for me (let alone them, I assume): it was as if I suddenly came to realize that everyone has an inward an outward facing personality.
It’s amazing, too, how unimportant and insubstantial other people’s arguments sound when you have no personal involvement with them or their subject matter. I came halfway towards slamming down my chopsticks, turning to them, and shouting “why can’t we just all get along.” But I didn’t.
I’m left thinking that everyone should argue in the public arena. Or that we should take great pains to never do so.
In any case, Interlude temporarily ceased to be an urban oasis for at least this afternoon.