No Sugar

December 14, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Amelia Shepherd



Richard M. Longthorpe

There are a lot of people. 7.3 billion of us at the last count. I am sat next to three of them. I am not sat with them, yet they are here in this sanitised space. We are not sat together. Each is at our own table.

I’m being the analytical one. I’m observing them for a piece of self-aggrandizing writing that will be lapped up by another homogenous hominine in another anaemic café on another square meter of this rock somewhere. The others around me are also analyzing. I assume with arrogance that they are not aware of this. We have become a tribe of non-entities, absorbed only in what is spoon fed for us to believe or not believe. There is an incandescent ardor to each of their faces. This is not to say they are experiencing some kind of Dante-esque moment of self-release. Rather, each of them are being lit by the reflection from a once bitten, 15 inches in width, Apple. Are we unknowingly bitten by the hand that feeds us and we’re back to the original sin? Is this a crisis of grand magnitude or are we all just ok, really?

The walls of the café are nice. I would be scalded by my elderly, slightly European-burlesque English Professor for using such an inexpensive word as ‘nice’. There isn’t another word, Ma’am. The color of the walls is an insipid Summer Savannah yellow with a border of Green Parrot green, at least that’s what they tell us the colors are called on the tin when being governed aimlessly through the halls of a hardware store pretending we’re alive whilst quietly screaming for death. The café’s flat-pack tables whisper conformity into my uninitiated ears and the twee and delicately dainty crocheted plastic table mats only serve to loosen any willful desire to keep on living.

One of us reprograms and orders some type of fowl with a comfit egg yolk and a Wiltshire truffle. Another asks the detached waitress for fish with a beetroot compote and candied hazelnut (I didn’t know it was possible to flatter a nut). When did we all fall into this pretentious parallel universe? The dark gap on the fold of his upturned trousers above his red socks and polished Brogues offers a space for my eyes to take refuge in. My analysis is interrupted by a change in the softened beat of the trip-hop music being piped into the palpable anger of the café. One of us struggles to be able to excuse his existence by naming the latest independent French film director to the waitress in conversation. She smiles and mentions the service charge. He is spewing perspicacity and sallow opinion whilst ordering food labeled with tiresome names.

I order a coffee, black. No sugar.









Richard M. Longthorpe

Richard M. Longthorpe

Richard pays attention to politics and is interested in people. He held a leading role with Amnesty International whilst at university. He has been living and traveling through Asia for over a decade and has been involved with the local hill-tribes, streetkids and landmine casualties. He spent a period as an ordained Buddhist Monk in the jungles of Thailand which he describes as an ‘honour and a privilege’. He is doubtful and critical of his alleged writing skills and considers flattery anaemic unless sincere though he does welcome considered applause.

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