Monday, May 17, 2010

Something happened while I was asleep.

I feel as if I'm coming out of hibernation. For months, it has been freezing here. Far longer and far colder than usual. Only now is it warming up out there. Then we had the Government election that nobody won, and the lunacy that followed (and still follows) it. The paranormal seems to have been brushed aside - nobody has time any more.

Then again, nobody has much time for anything any more. Or anyone. People seem so tense, so rushed, so angry all the time. It does indeed sound like what Tom Sheepandgoats would call the 'end times'. Everyone is angry all the time and nobody seems to know what they are angry about.

There has been a proliferation of amateur psychological tricksters. Have you noticed, in a supermarket queue, the person behind taking small steps forward? It's an intimidation technique designed to make you hurry up. It works if you don't know about it. If you do know about it and are annoyed by it, the response is called 'precision packing' where every item must be tested in various orientations before placing it in the bag, and on no account must you be anywhere near ready to pay when the last item has come through.

By the time you put your credit card in the reader slot, they will be at your shoulder. That's when I turn around, look them in the eye and say, loudly;

"Would it be easier if I just told you the number, so you won't have to watch me type it in?"

You want to play psychological games? I like such games. Once they have withdrawn, red-faced, and I have paid and left, they still have to go through that same checkout, with the same checkout operator, the same customer waiting behind them, the same staff and customers on adjacent tills...

A small woman once decided I was in her way in the shop so she accelerated her trolley at me and looked sideways. I was supposed to panic and move aside. I stared straight at her. She lost. Cars, when overtaking, like to swerve in to assert their dominance. I have a rusty wreck so a few more dents won't trouble me so I swerve right back at them. It accelerates surprisingly fast too. I have followed people who tailgate, overtake with an inch clearance and then cut-in too tight for tens of miles. I have seen them slow to let me pass and speed up to lose me and I have stayed there, grinning in their mirrors, with no intention of doing anything more than scaring the living daylights out of them.

Psychological games are the only ones worth playing. Play them with me if you want, I like those games.

There's something deeper going on. People didn't used to cross the road without bothering to look. People didn't used to barge each other out of the way. People didn't used to try every trick to intimidate everyone they met. Cars didn't used to race at you if you were turning a junction well ahead of them. I'm not talking about twenty years ago. The difference is noticeable between this year and last. The world (at least, the UK) has become childish and pathetic. Everyone is out for themselves and cares not a fig for those around them. Okay, it means I get more justification for using voice-tone tricks and the Glare but really, those are for particularly objectionable people and troublesome students. Now, it seems everyone is asking for it.

What happened out there while I was homebound by ice? Did you all go mad or something?


Regina Richards said...

"Would it be easier if I just told you the number, so you won't have to watch me type it in?"


Once a complete stranger in the queue at the grocery whiningly accused me of not trusting him because I shielded the keypad with one hand while typing in my number (by touch)beneath that shield with the other.

Why would I trust him? And why did he think he had the right to feel affronted that I didn't let him see my bank card password?

The world is getting weird-er by the moment.

Romulus Crowe said...

Seriously? Someone was offended that you were being cautious with your bank details?

I think I'd have responded to that whine of 'Don't you trust me?' with 'Frankly, you don't look like someone I'd ever trust'.

Haven't experienced that one yet, but I'm ready for it now.

Southern Writer said...

You are too funny. People do the same thing here. I learned a similar tact from my sister who can be quite scathing: I turn to the offending person and ask quite loudly, "Have you ever heard of personal space?" They usually blush and stammer as they back off. Now, I just leave my cart between them and me, so they CAN'T get close. And omg,it annoys the crap out of them!

I also slow down for tailgaters. Someday, I'm going to have a bumper sticker made that says "I brake for ghosts," and when someone rear ends me, I will tell them they were warned!

I hope you don't mind, but I saw this news article, and immediately thought to ask Tom Sheepandgoats about it:

I hope he sees it before it expires.

Romulus Crowe said...

SW - I slow down for tailgaters too. I have also developed the knack of missing traffic islands by inches. The tailgaters like to edge out as if to see past you, and one day I will run one of them straight into a bollard. So far I have contented myself with the rear-view mirror sight of their swerving.

For your link - no, she's lying, transporting goats like that is definitely not allowed in the UK. You can cram commuters onto a subway train using hydraulic rams and compressed air, but there are very strict regulations about transporting animals.

Let's hope she doesn't come back here. Then again, she would not have been released if she had done that here. We Brits can get very nasty about animal cruelty.

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