Recently I stayed the night at the Tickled Trout Hotel Preston. This is a comfortable mid-range hotel by the River Ribble, used mainly by business travellers and tourists.
After dinner I went to the bar and fell talking to a gregarious young man called Rob. He introduced me to his girlfriend Tracey and we sat down for a drink. All was friendly until Tracey asked what I did, and I made the mistake of telling her.
In an instant she changed from a pussycat into a wildcat, and I became a fat cat.
She saw no distinction between petroleum and finance, or between bankers and lawyers. I was one of those fat cats, paying myself huge bonuses and staying in luxury hotels, while the unemployed starved in the street and a young mother like her could not afford to heat her flat.
I made one final mistake by pointing out that she was staying in the same hotel. She exploded in fury. How dare I say that? That was not the same at all.
I finished my drink and stood up. I shook hands with Rob and said I had enjoyed meeting him. I told Tracey that I had not intended to upset her and apologized for having done so.
Evidently it is safer for business people in the UK today to pose as care workers.