"If you studied at [that university]," I said, "then we should be adversaries, because I went to [this other university], and there's always been a low-level rivalry between the two."
"I know," she said; "in fact, I heard that your one was started as an intentional alternative to our one."
"Well, I didn't like my one," I admitted, "plus rivalries are petty. I like you."
The chair of the local Green Party came in carrying tea and biscuits. It was the first time I'd been in his house... up until then, all the meetings I'd remembered to go to were in his garden, which is about the size of Hong Kong. There's even a river in it.
"Where are you from, originally?" asked someone else. "You studied here in the UK, but you're from somewhere in East Asia; is that correct? I can't place the accent."
"Yes," she smiled. "I'm from China. Shanghai, to be precise."
"Oh, I know someone who lives in Shanghai!" my mouth said, before my brain could hold up a little red flag. "He's from London, but he moved there because..."
At which point I realises that I may have been talking to a recent graduate from a little ecological tech start-up, who's probably younger than me, but that I was in fact surrounded by older people, including a woman who ran for chair herself, who I voted against purely on the fact that she keeps pushing her own agenda so hard you'd forget it's a Green Party meeting.
Then again, as I also realised, this was the Green Party. It's not like I'm a member of the Tories, or (God forbid) UKIP. Or the Christian Party. I've got this.
"He's from London, but he moved there because he works for a sex toy company. And they wanted him there, so he moved."
"Oh, cool," she said. "How's he finding it?"
"I don't know, because I haven't seen him since he moved. He's grown a beard for some reason."
"You've got a beard," she pointed out.
"Yes," I agreed, "but that's because I'm lazy."
At which point someone saw fit to suggest that we actually start the business meeting. So I didn't get to continue on to say that I don't actually have anything against people with beards, because a further realisation suddenly dawned on me that my use of the conjunction "but" may have suggested as much.
I also didn't get in any more references to sex toys. But, y'know, I'm fine with that. To a point, anyway.