There I was a few weeks ago, sitting in the Barefoot Cafe with C, mellowing and enjoying that unique atmosphere we all know so well. I'd had a Malaysian beef curry, not one of my wisest choices it must be said, particularly when its only competitor had been the devilled prawns, those huge big gorgeous things that taste of gorgeousness. And prawn.
One has to try these new dishes to establish the liking for the older ones, living and learning and putting it down to experience. C was on her seventh or eighth glass or wine, she was taking it easy that afternoon, and I was hitting my third Diet Coke. Life doesn't get much more relaxed and balmy. In short, all was good.
The smooth sounds of something jazzy wafted their way over the Bose speakers as I watched tables of random NGOs schmoozing, groups of returning for the holiday Lankans laughing and sharing food and odd smatterings of lobster coloured tourists laden with Barefoot carrier bags take pictures of their surroundings.
Somewhere on the distant edges of the aural spectrum, if such a thing exists, was the faint rumble of traffic on the Galle Road. It's one of the things that fascinates me about the garden there. You know that it's only a stone's throw from the sheer chaos, smokiness, dustiness and madness of Galle Road, but that much pictured door at the front of the shop is in reality the door to another world, one of tranquility and calm.
It's why it's one of my all time favourite places in the world to hang, though I can't say that I've been to every place in the world, probably not even ninety per cent of them.
In the sort of passageway, the path bit that leads from the shop though the cafe to that archway into the car park, there had been a bit of a puddle so someone had placed one of those bright orange warning signs. You know the signs, they're like a triangle with one side missing and they say things like "Danger - Wet floor", that kind of thing.
As I sat and enjoyed the atmosphere a group from one of the tables started to get their act together to leave. They paid their bill, gathered their carrier bags and made to leave. They were white and European looking, I suspected German but didn't want to make a fuss.
One of the people, a twenty something woman, got up and walked back from her chair. Then BANG! She promptly walked into and tripped over the sign, that one that said "Danger" on it and warned people not to trip over.
I have to tell you, I found this so funny, even as I type this, at 7.25 on Sunday night, I'm actually laughing out aloud as I recall it. It's got to be irony hasn't it? A woman tripping over a warning sign. Again, though I mentioned the concept in my last post, Alanis should take notice.
The woman was okay, getting up and getting on her way. She hadn't noticed me laughing like a kid and C scowling at me like, well, a woman. She's probably forgotten the whole incident whereas I, being me, have devoted quite a dollop of thought to it.
I know Sri Lanka's not a very litigious society in the way the US is and the UK is becoming. You have a system where people fall down holes in the road, get electrocuted by bare wires and killed by drivers on zebra crossings and they're often classed as just things that happen and life goes on, though not for the people they happen to.
The UK is getting to be as bad as the US, with ambulance chasers and partly qualified solicitors making money out of things that really should be classed as everyday accidents. And in the meantime the US continues to lead us all by example, with fat people suing everyone because they won't stop eating and don't know where Europe is.
But, in a society that was a little bit more litigious than the motherland, what would happen if someone tripped over a warning sign?
Could they sue? Could they bring a case that there should have been a warning sign to warn of the warning sign? Then what if someone tripped over that sign? Imagine the madness that could ensue.
I wonder about this stuff. That's why I was laughing so much, not just because it was funny to watch.
In Conversation: SURESH DE SILVA
12 hours ago