17 August 2007

Going to the shops is now a multi-obstacle assault course

How hard can it be to walk to the shops unimpeded? Well, apparently very.

First there’s the rather dirty looking drunk man who thinks taking a zig zag route up the pavement is the way to go. Special Brew at 11am anyone? That took some careful negotiation and swerving to ensure no part of me came into contact with him.

Then there’s the pack of EF Language School students in matching backpacks. Do they REALLY need to travel in herds of 50? And all cross the road at once, regardless of traffic? Do they not have traffic on the continent or something? I admit, accidentally getting myself into the middle of the group instead of skirting round it was a mistake. I thought they were going to realise I wasn’t one of them and start shouting “burn the witch!” Eventually obstacle two was cleared, 10 points.

And then there’s the bloody cheeky chappy in his yellow bib and clipboard ready to pounce on you to ask for just £2 a month in aid of whichever charity he’s been asked to wear the bib for today. I used to try to be polite to them, and even occasionally stopped to talk to them sometimes, but the years have eroded my good manners and I have now perfected the art of the Quick Shutdown. Try it some time, it works on bib-sporters and street beggars alike. Do not slow down. Do not change direction. Raise one hand in a stop motion and proclaim loudly “No, I’m not stopping”. Do not allow your hand motion to become an opening for them to shake your hand, another recent trick of theirs. Keep moving, even if your trajectory is taking you into oncoming traffic. It is cruel but much quicker in the long run. You can also vary the wording for street beggars who wish to tell you their life story to “Yeah, I’m not giving you any money” just so there’s no misunderstanding.

Eventually got to the shops, and then forgot to get the thing I’d gone out for in the first place. Bugger.

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