T – So, I am sitting in the lobby of a Dublin hotel, waiting for the two Judges from Egypt that I am chaperoning for a conference on court administration, when a slightly disheveled gentleman walks by me. “That guy looks like Lloyd Cole.” I say to myself, returning to my Economist. But when I hear the desk clerk say something that sounds like “Yes, Mr. Cole” and I remember that Lloyd is in Dublin to record a live album this weekend—a concert that I had briefly considered hanging around for—I realize that this person in front of me is the single largest contributor to the soundtrack of my life. As he walks toward me on the way to breakfast, I say “Good Morning” and go back to my life. I don’t want to bother the guy, and am worried that a rude response might forever sully my appreciation of a body of otherwise wonderful music.

All morning, I consider whether my response was proper, or whether I should have said more. I am conflicted by the urge to share with Lloyd what his music has meant to me over the years and a personality that is far too old for idolatry, and mindful of good manners. What might I have told him?

A – I was thinking what friendly folk these were in the hotel… I hope I wasn’t impolite in response. I have a low threshold for impolite behaviour. Regarding your behaviour, it was entirely appropriate and I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

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Publication date: 30/04/2008