Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bookends... and a language warning


So on Friday, I was making my way to my day job and it felt like a struggle. I was still battling a ghastly head cold and had not slept well for the past three nights. I'd been grouchy as hell as I'd shepherded my daughter to kinder that morning and what little voice I had left was expended on reading her a story once we arrived.

I climbed off the tram and waddled my way to the office, with a slight detour. I knew I'd need a coffee and muffin once I hit my desk but didn't have any cash on me, so made my way to the ATM.

Two shop fronts away from the bank, I got totally sucked in by this little doggy in the window! Hell, I'm not even a dog person. But he was dressed in a blue and white striped t-shirt with a sparkly "Oui!" printed on the back. And I knew my daughter would adore him. So, three croaky minutes later, he was ours.

As I stepped out of the store to resume the well-trodden trail to the office, a smartly dressed woman walked right up to me, pointed in my face and said loudly, "Fuck YOU bitch!".

I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with fluffy French dog envy. In fact, if memory served me correctly, she was a pretty regular fixture near my work, largely memorable due to her Tourette Syndrome (or whatever that makes her swear nastily, though without great rancour, at random passersby).

Anyway, it all seemed fair enough for a Friday morning so I just shrugged and kept walking.

A decaf flat white, a muffin, two meetings and a few emails later, I was waiting for the bus that would take me home so I could collect my little 'un from kinder. My head felt full of cotton wool and I was knackered and the bus was late (as always) but the sun was peaking through the clouds and I passed the time tooling around with my phone.

Then I saw a pair of feet striding towards me and I looked up to see a handsome young student of possibly Chinese origin coming right for me. He had spiky hair and hipsterish clothes and a cute ironic smile on his face. I mention his ethnicity only because I began to wonder if I should know him (I used to work for a college that enrolled mainly students from South East Asia: I'd befriended a few of them, but it had been a while since we'd been in touch).

The thing about this inoffensive, mildly familiar-looking chap was that he was pacing towards me at a rate of knots and he did not look like he was going to stop!

I finally gave up wracking my brains to try and remember who he was and, split seconds before he ploughed straight into me and knocked me backwards, put my hand out and blurted, "HEY! What the fuck?!"

He stopped, apologised politely and explained he was doing an experiment for his psychology class. He was exploring the responses of different genders, ages and ethnicities to strangers entering their personal space. He then proceeded down the street, joined by two girls (one of whom had a camera, both of whom also smiled and apologised), presumably to source their next subjects.

The ethics of that particular experiment did get me wondering. I hoped no one would be so offended by his antics that they socked him one. I also hope he discovered something more useful than the probability that pregnant women suffering head colds will swear at you if you make like you're about to knock them over.

In any case, it somehow seemed a fitting bookend to a day that started with a fluffy French plushie and an Eff You.


1 comment:

  1. knocking you down goes beyond invading personal space. i'm sure his assignment specified not including assault in his hypothesis.

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