“That’s not really my cup of tea,” I broke in hurriedly, “not really my cup of tea at all…” But it was too late – he’d got his foot in the door and he wasn’t going to let go of his advantage. People don’t, do they? We’re all experts at pressing home the advantage when we get it; we’re all fairly ruthless in that regard. We’re all experts at seizing hold of the advantage once it comes our way and then getting as much leverage as possible out of it; slowly but surely we lever the doorway of opportunity open – all we need is that first crack. First we get a toe-hold and then it’s a foot-hold and then the next thing is that we can get a whole leg in, quickly to be followed by the rest of us. We’re all experts at that aren’t we? Some more expert than others, of course… Once they’re actually in your living room then the game is as good as over – they’ve got you where they want you. They can pick away at you at leisure; there’s no hurry anymore because it’s all a matter of time now. It’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’. How long can you hang on? How long can you last before they wear you down? “That’s not really my cup of tea,” I begin but it was too late he was already making himself at home, hunkering down into my best armchair, his beady little eyes glittering strangely as he fixed me with his gaze. “What do you think about the issue of human suffering?” he asked me slyly, cocking his head to one side. I told him that I could relate to that very well but already he was pressing for more. “But what do you think is the root cause of human suffering?” he persisted, keen to get to the heart of the matter. I replied lamely that there were probably a number of factors at work here but then trailed off under his imperturbable gaze, not really knowing where I was going with this. I could see that I didn’t really have any argument here; my gambit had been to try to deflect his attention but he was – needless to say – in no mood to be deflected. He was in fact only starting to warm up at this stage. He hadn’t even hit his stride yet and I knew it. “Do you think that it’s God’s will for us to suffer?” my new friend threw in, with a playful twinkle in his eye to show that he didn’t really think that this was what I thought. “Well that’s not really my cup of tea,” I countered weakly. Not really my cup of tea, not really my cup of tea. He hadn’t even hit his stride yet and I knew it. He had me exactly where he wanted me and he could afford to take his time. He could chip away at me at leisure, in a civilized kind of a fashion, in no particular hurry to move into the endgame…







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