An Friday Rant

Well, I'm back from the Edinburgh Book Festival and it was good: met up with some nice people, did the event, traumatised a teenager, was late for dinner, stole someone's chocolate cake, ate a truly dreadful haddock supper and went out late night drinking on blagged passes. All in all a nice evening.

It wasn't until we got back to Aberdeen from Edinburgh that we hit rant territory...

Supermarkets act as a kind of magnet for arsewits. And not just any old arsewits, rude arsewits. Now I consider myself a pretty normal person: I'm polite wherever possible, I'll hold the door open for people, help little old ladies get things off high shelves, if we're in a trolley jam I'll pull over to the hard shoulder (or more often than not up against the hard cheeses) and let someone out. And when someone does the same for me, I say, "Thank you." because they've just done something nice. No, they haven't brokered peace in the Middle East, or found a cure for white socks with black shoes, but they've been polite. Ps & Qs -- going together like politicians and sleaze.

But what roasts my toasties, what climbs up my nose, gets on my neck and pees in my porridge are those bastards you do something nice for, who refuse to even acknowledge you exist. You know the kind -- they drop their wallet / milk / small child, you pick it up, hand it back, offer them a smile... and nothing. Not even eye contact. Those are the bastards I'm talking about. You get out of their way, offer them a smile, and they breeze past as if you weren't even there.

I've gotten into the bad habit of not letting this pass uncommented on. If I'm nice to you and you can't be arsed, I'll make a point of saying, "You're welcome!" or "Don't Mention it!" or in the case of this afternoon, "What a lovely lady." And yes, I know it's stupid and petty and I shouldn't, but I've never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the box, have I? Two rudes don't make a polite.

This time it was a woman who shared the side-to-side-left-and-right dance with me in Tesco. Back and forth, her on foot, me with a trolley, trying to get out of her way. And not once did she raise her eyes from the floor, keeping her face set in a thin, grey line. So once past, I pass the usual aside to She Who Must Put Up With Me In Supermarkets If She Wants To Eat, "What a lovely lady." and this bloke stops, glowers at me and says, "That's my wife!" Now at this point I could ask what the hell is wrong with the pair of them, but I decide that no: it's me that's at fault for having unrealistic expectations of social interaction and apologise.

After all, the poor sod's got to put up with her the whole time. And not only that, he's probably going to be grumping in justified indignation all the way round the drink and crisp aisles. In fact, he may well still be furious by the time he gets home, has his tea, and heads off to the pub.

"You'll never bloody guess," says he to his mates, "some rude, bearded bastard was horrible to my Agnes in the supermarket!"

"Aye?" says friend number one, pulling on a sympathetic face, "What did he say?"

Duncan -- I don't know if he's called Duncan any more than I know his wife's called Agnes, but for the sake of the argument, let's pretend that those are their names, otherwise we'll be here all bloody night -- scowls deep into his pint. "He said she was a 'lovely lady'!"

"Bastard!" says friend number two, taking a good look at Duncan's wife, "Clearly he's talking the piss..."

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I should try and keep the asides to myself when faced with the Supermarket Wandering Rude, rather than goading them and their spouses into freezer section fury. In order to make up for the karmic dog-doo on my soul I want to beg a favour of you silent, lurking hordes (all three of you) out there in Blogland: next time you're in the supermarket, perform a random act of politeness, and if the ungrateful sod on the other end can't be arsed acknowledging you as a fellow human being, don't sweat it. Remember they're just arsewits and too thick to know any better. You just smile, shrug and feel the warm glow of a good deed ignored, safe in the knowledge that when you get up to heaven some bastard's probably going to expect you to hold the gates open for them there too.

And they won't say 'thank you' either.