The adults sat at one end of the table, and the kids at the other. And while we all settled into our chairs and warmed to each other (because we were mostly strangers), the owner of the restaurant brought out plates of appetizers and cups of tea and finally dishes with bread and rice and sumptuous meats.
The kids formed a kid huddle from which could be periodically heard squeals of laughter. One of them ate his shrimp, and all the others, not liking shrimp and seeing an escape, piled theirs on the plate in front of him.
At our end of the table, the conversation wandered here and there. We talked about the kids. We talked about travelling. And from time to time we laughed out loud about some inept politician somewhere in the world -- frankly often south of the Canadian-American border.
At one point, one of the women across the table asked,
So is Austin a very cosmopolitan city?
No, not really, I said after a moment's reflection.
It's a laid back city. People don't get too dressed up, and you can wear blue jeans almost everywhere you go. Some folks get dressed up for the theater, but some folks don't.
She looked at me and smiled, nodding in noticeable silence.
At that point, Trudy stepped in. I don't remember just what she said, certainly due of the shame that soon washed over me. Whatever she said, it was suddenly plain to me that I've lived 46 years of my life without knowing the correct meaning of the word, cosmopolitan.
I'm afraid to even imagine what kind of impression I left on our end of the table that night.
Talking politics in Ottawa
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