I pop in to hospital several times each week to avail myself of their free coffee. My mum works as a theatre nurse there and their coffee is provided as a “community service”. It’s a Dutch brand – Douwe Egberts – and is more than tolerable, especially by American standards. Mostly it is an uneventful affair. I pop in, pour myself a 12-ounce-cup, add sugar and milk and then drive off to my next destination. Most often there is no one there. This Tuesday, however, I was subjected to something truly horrifying. I heard a woman speaking. It wasn’t a normal fashion of speech. It was a most hideous, discordant Sarf Lon’on. My ears hadn’t been assaulted in such a cold-blooded way since I didn’t pay enough attention and had to change trains at Lewisham! She stank. She did not stink of body odour, rather of a generous application of cheap perfume.
I turned around and faced it – the most hellish of sights. An otherwise underwhelming Sarf Lon’oner with a spray tan that looked of a carrot’s daughter from an illicit affair. She was covered in hideous East Los Angeles-style tattoos. She was a Sarf Lon’on chola – a Mexican/Chicano subclass that combines the worst of the chav with Mexican slum “culture”. After making a mess of the room, she and her cholo boyfriend – a fair dinkum Mexican – left. They may have gone, but the scars remain burnt into my mind.