Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Word skills and conflict negotiation.

I am in the supermarket in Falmouth. Ahead of me, a studenty-type accidentally brushes against the trolly of a man wearing a tracksuit.

STUDENT: Oh, I'm terribly sorry.
MAN: Fuck off, queer.
STUDENT: Er...

Student walks away and join a queue. Man starts pointing at him.

MAN: (chanting) Queer, queer, queer, queer...
ME: (annoyed) Oy!
MAN: (instantly) Shut up.
ME: You shut up.
MAN: Fuck off.

A brief pause as I try and think of a comeback. The supermarket is tensed in expectation. Finally:

ME: No, you fuck off.*
SUPERMARKET: Oooooooh...

We glare at each other. Eventually he does fuck off.

LADY ON TILL: Ooh, don't worry about him love, he's mental.
ME: (sternly) Yes, well, that's no excuse.


* Like Jeff Goldblum.




26 comments:

Sylvia said...

James, you were very brave, that's all I can say. You definitely don't cross the care in the community gang here in Shangri La!

james henry said...

I'm not that brave - he was quite short, and very normal-looking, which is why I was so shocked. If he'd been bigger and tattoed, I'm ashamed to say I probably would have tutted and then run away.

Squarah said...

Shame he wasn't wearing a hoodie because then you could have just gone and given him a hug and then all the retarded thoughts that filled his brain would have just floated away....

james henry said...

I was wearing a hoodie.

In fairness to David Cameron (argh) he never said 'hug a hoodie', and has been pointed out that he can't even deny saying it, because then the words could be taken out of context, and people could say "Ahhhh you did say 'hug a hoodie'."

The problem is, whenever someone behaves unpleasantly in public, someone always says 'oh he's got mental problems/is depressed/whatever'. Right, because otherwise he'd be handing out flowers and Rufus Wainwright compilation CDs.

I'm not sure what my point is. I'd probably better go and do some work now.

Valerie said...

Wow! Not only do you have Great Hair (TM), but you are Witty.

Seriously, though, go you!

Probably half the population has got some kind of mental problem (or is it just here in the U.S.? ;-) ). I doubt that gives them the right to be unpleasant, because that would be really unfair to the rest of us sane ones. Well, assuming I'm one of the sane ones. We'd never get to have any fun.

nanga parbat said...

I hereby dub thee, James, Defender of the Fey.

Tee hee! See what I did there??

Well, if I didn't laugh at my own jokes no-one would...

patroclus said...

Ooh, this is just like Die Hard.

violetforthemoment said...

Good on you, I hate it when people just stand back and let others be victimised in petty, arsey ways like that.

I've had about twelve fellas on my books so far who have punched people in the face and suchlike after behaving in such a questionable manner in similar situations, and only three of them have an actual mental health problem, and only two out of those are cases where the mental health prob is relevant to the arsey behaviour. The rest are just arseholes. (That's a technical probation term. Don't try to understand, oh puny lay people.)

Paul Pennyfeather said...

My hero

Fat Roland said...

You should have marched in on a white horse.

I mean, it's good what you did, but...

James Moran said...

You are the wind beneath my wings.

Mr Angry said...

You are quite right James, being a mental is absolutely no excuse for being rude in a supermarket.

Of course, if he had killed you to death, there and then, his mentalness would probably be a perfectly valid excuse.

james henry said...

In which I wouldn't have blamed him at all. But there's no excuse for public rudeness.

Skeadugenga said...

Did you go away and shake for ten minutes afterwards? Being short, I only confront people when they've been rude to my Mum, which makes me very, very cross. On both occasions they were very tall men, whom I shouted up at for a bit about the value of good manners, and then told to run along, which surprisingly they did. Inevitably afterwards, there is an oo-er moment. Maybe I'm the loony.

Tim Footman said...

I just read about a case in Newcastle, when a 19-year-old stabbed a 16-year-old who was celebrating his GCSE results.

The defence counsel pleaded in mitigation that the assailant "had self-esteem issues".

Whether his low self-esteem was justified was not mentioned.

james henry said...

There's an interesting-looking Adam Curtis documentary on Sunday BB2 9pm, called The Trap, which looks how any deviation from the economists' norm is classified as a mental problem, something which the medical industry does very well out of...

(not you, realdoc)

mad muthas said...

you're well 'ard

Jen said...

Try doing that in a Glasgow supermarché and you'd get stabbed.

Or 'chibbed'.

Which is pretty much the same.

steve_p said...

If only the world was filled with more people like you it would be a better place..........

james henry said...

In the interest of balance, I should point out that on the way home, I kicked a unicorn to death and stabbed a Care Bear.

Jen said...

Clearly the Unicorn was rude, and the Care Bear was distrubing the peace...

James Henry - Etiquette Enforcer. Style Guru; all-round polite man of the people. With great hair.

Skeadugenga said...

Is there a superhero called "Captain Manners"?

Terri Nixon said...

Now that reminds me of - oddly enough - The Tall Guy. When Jeff Goldblum is attending an ac-tors' workshop. He even says "no, YOU fuck off."
Is it something about tall men?

james henry said...

He does say that! I love that bit, I'd forgotten all about it. Clearly I was going for some sort of homage.

Just seen a sneaky preview of Jeff's new TV series 'Raines', in which he is a detective who can see the head - but in his brain, it doesn't seem to be a supernatural thing. Anyway, story is ok, but Jeffness is set to 11 (just watch his walk in the first minute, it's brilliant) and that's fine by me.

Flirty Something said...

I assume when you left the supermarket you thought of something extremely witty to say?

Ms Baroque said...

God I love supermarkets.