My British education continues. This time, the lesson arrived over what my coworkers call “a curry and a pint.”
At a local Indian restaurant, I tucked into some buttery Tikka Masala and we discussed the day’s events.
I’ve been watching a lot of morning television, particularly the news shows, and so I had a lot of questions.
One question burned uppermost in my mind.
“Is the Mayor of London insane? Because I’ve been seeing various video clips on the news and he seems…well…batshit crazy.”
“Boris Johnson, you mean? What leads you to that conclusion?” asked a wise coworker.
I told them of the video I’d seen that morning of Mr. Johnson, filmed just after London won the Olympic games. In the video, the honorable yet wild haired Mr. Johnson goes on at some length about how people in England used to play lawn tennis on their dining room table and it was called wiff waff. He kept saying “wiff waff” and rambling along that England originated table tennis and is the center of the sporting world and so on.
The man standing behind him is doing all he can to not laugh hysterically as an elected official natters on. (You can watch the video here, or Google Boris Johnson and wiff waff)
This video was played to set the stage for the next video, a clip that had been filmed earlier that day. In this video, they showed a large set of Olympic rings being hoisted and put in place under the London Bridge. When interviewed, Mr. Johnson went off on a repetitive rant that this adornment of the well known landmark was a wakeup call to London and an invitation to the world. His hair was surprisingly calm this day considering the wind.
So that, I told my curry crew, was the basis for my question.
Here was the reply and my lesson:
“Oh, make no mistake, he’s barking mad. However, his father was a member of Parliament and he is from a very posh family. He attended some of the best schools in the country. He was an MP of a small town for a while and then made his way to Mayor of London. The people love him.”
She went on to say, “You see, the difference between bonkers and eccentric is money. Boris Johnson is merely eccentric.”
Oh I see.
I took a sip of my beer.
I nodded thoughtfully.
“Fair enough,” was the extent of my reply.
Image found here