Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Whatever happened to "excuse me?"

So I've finished my Christmas shopping - yay, hooray for me *victory dance*. Actually it's not the 'I've finished my Christmas shopping' aspect of it that I'm utterly elated by; it's more to do with the fact that I now don't have to go out and fight my way through the hordes of complete halfwits that 99 percent of the population appear to turn into when someone rattles some sleigh bells and waves a bit of tinsel in their faces.

Ooo, tinsel - pretty!

Seriously, it's like a zombie plague but with people taking leave of their senses rather than decaying and having their arms drop off. The cold dead-stares and unpredictable lurching is common to both parties, however.

My non-festive rant begins with a late afternoon trip to Kingston on Saturday. Around this time of year I try to avoid shopping at peak times, but even rocking up to the 'ton at just after four proved to be an epic mistake: there were people EVERYWHERE. But they weren't shopping in a normal, predictable fashion. The traditional 'oh-I'll-pick-this-item-up-and-admire-it-but-oh-no-it's-not-quite-what-I-was-looking-for-I'll-pop-it back-on-the-rack' style of shopping had disappeared to be replaced by people veering around in a random fashion, picking things up, shrieking at whatever they'd picked up, then returning it to the rack in such a way that I initially thought they were trying to fend off an attacking tiger.

And don't get me started on my favourite shop, Borders, which has been reduced to a trampy, shambolic market writhing around in it's death throes thanks to the chain going bust. I really wish I'd not gone in there and seen it in such a sorry state.

Anyway, having only partially succeeded in getting what I wanted to get, I decided that a trip to Westfield was in order on Monday evening.

Because of the sheer bloody size of the place, Westfield rarely looks full. But regardless of the size of the walkways, I still appear to be a magnet for stupid people - y'know, people who just wander aimlessly around like they're slightly out of sync with the regular flow of time. Or like the posh teenage girls who walk three abreast straight towards you like an ignorant perfumed tsunami. Maybe they're a little shell-shocked from getting a glimpse of the tramps on Shepherds Bush Green as the cab mummy had hailed for them swung by on the last leg of their journey from the leafy residential roads of Kensington? I can picture them now holding their hands to the sides of their heads like little manicured blinkers, quietly chanting "don't look, don't look, don't look."

Sadly I can't blame the blinkers on their inability to give a little leeway as they flounce towards me, because if they were using blinkers I'd be THE ONLY BLOODY THING THEY COULD SEE.

Then there's people with children, especially those with buggies. For a while now I've been quietly formulating a theory that 99 percent of people who have children jettison their common sense along with the baby and the afterbirth. I mean, really, repeatedly ramming your buggy against the side of my leg in Starbucks as you try to get past isn't normal behaviour, is it? What happened to saying excuse me? Are you actually trying to say "look! I've got a baby! That means I have a working uterus, and ensnared an actual man to impregnate me with his baby gravy. My life is complete! Now move out of the way, I have to inform somebody else of this, and perhaps get a skinny cappuccino along the way."

Actually, no one's interested in your doughy little f**k-trophy so piss off.

On a side note, I've decided that I'm no longer going to pander to people's whims and be polite when I'm shown new babies. If a baby genuinely is a cutie, I shall say so; otherwise, please expect a reaction ranging from "ugh!" to "it looks like the fellow that lives in the tummy of the other man in Total Recall" to "I'm sure the eyes will level out at some point, but until then I shall call him Sloth*."

The full-force of my Westfield rage was ultimately directed at a more mature age group, however. On my way out of the centre via the posh Village bit (that's "villaaaaaaaage" not "village" I'll have you know) I headed toward an escalator that would take me down to Waitrose where I intended to feed my latest addiction by stocking up on the otherworldly awesomeness that is their potato rosti. Unfortunately, completely and utterly blocking access to the escalator were two old dudes and a matching old woman with a massive, excessively-coiffured burgundy head. I circled around them to squeeze on to the escalator from the other side, but just as I was about to slip by they decided that they actually wanted to go down too, and barged past me. After hesitating for what seemed like an eternity about which of the revolutionary moving steps they dared jump onto, the aged trio managed to get on the escalator, and I swiftly followed them.

Halfway down one of the old dudes starts waving like a complete loon at a second old woman who was stumbling out of the Louis Viutton store and was inexplicably wearing oversized sunglasses that made her look a bit like Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She took a moment to register that someone was calling to her, before eventually walking over to greet her comrades in Prada at the bottom of the escalator.

And that's when they committed their cardinal sin.

They. Got. Off. The. Escalator. And. Didn't. Move. Out. Of. The. Way.

I was actually a few steps back from them, so I could clearly see what they were (or rather what they weren't) going to do. As my metallic step of destiny inched ever closer to them my mind raced with witty put-downs to highlight their ignorance - put-downs so cutting, so precise and calculated that they would never - NEVER I TELL YOU! - commit such a crime against humanity again. The mere sight of the bottom of an escalator would send a chill down their collective spines.

My moment was upon me – I stepped off, barged comically and somewhat unintentionally into one of the old guys, and with a Spock-style raised eyebrow loudly proclaimed: "Excuse me!"

And that, I think you'll agree, told them.

*Whadya mean it's a girl?


Dinah said...

I have no idea what makes escalators so difficult for people to use. Here, people are meant to walk left and stand right - that's not so hard, is it? Gah.

Do you ever read STFU, Parents? I find it hilarious.

Tara said...

You should've given the trio the Vulcan pinch. One for each, slothy idiot.

I usually don't have too many problems with people while I'm shopping, but there are the ones who stop in the middle of an aisle with their cart, not leaving enough room for people to pass by. Or they stop and talk to someone who just happens to be their long lost friend. Ack, don't get me started.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Oh, how I love your rants! The language, the turns of phrase, the dysphemisms and metaphors; each a carefully crafted part of a well sculpted sentence.

Or something...

Anyway, I find that glaring directly ahead, but not at anyone, as if I'm not looking where I'm going as I stride purposefully forward, has the desired effect of milling humans parting before me, allowing safe passage.

You should try it. Oh, you should also imagine a tall brick wall around you, too. Those people with even slight esper abilities can sense the wall and will move to avoid it.

Tim said...

Dinah - It's the same here! I think people are just generally quite stupid.

I read STFU sporadically, but now you've reminded me of it I feel compelled to visit more often!

Tara - I should have, but I'm out of practise and who knows what could've happened! It probably would've ended with me having to run from the scene of the crime, if you know what I mean…

Inexplicable Device - You use such eloquent words! None of which I understand…

I tried glaring ahead; people just think I'm being sultry and drift adoringly into my path.

the projectivist said...

Oh Timothy! How i hate it when you tease me with some new wondrous food stuff that is not available in Australialand. First it was the jaffa cake drink, then that coffee and now scrumptious sounding potato rostis!!

I can't believe you've only recently become aware of the dangers of old people. Oh they're a crafty lot, with their running over feet in motorised chairs, slowness on escalators and worse still, painfully stretched out deliberations over coffee choice. Don't forget that sin.

Spare a thought for me, Timothy J Esquire, trapped in my retail zombie nightmare. See you on the other side.

Tim said...

Oh, dear Projectivist, I apologise for the gorgeous foodstuffs you can't have - I feel for you, I do!

As for the old people - oh god, you have my deepest sympathies. Maybe you should install stairs so their motorised chairs can't gain access?

the projectivist said...

That sounds like a good plan. I'll try that, or a trail of biscuits that leads to Starbucks.

Hey. I work right next door to Borders. Damn them. With their constant window display temptations. Sigh.

Tim said...

Just follow me - I'll be the jeans-clad man desert zeroing in on the nearest Starbucks!

Borders has gone into administration here and they've all got closing down sales on! I'm DEVASTATED!

BEAST said...

I too am gutted about Borders , Its my favourite book shop EVER .
I am determined not to rant about brain dead shoppers , in particular girl shoppers and very specifically girl shoppers with babies , as I will only get in a right lather and have to go and lie down for a few hours..... but I feel you pain :-(

Tim said...

*Nods sagely at BEAST's comment*

CyberPete said...

Uuuh tinsel!

wordless words said...

oh my. love this blog. Borders is one of my favorite places as well. The part about not telling people their babies are cute, I could also relate. I have a friend who is very fond of babies and they always seem to be around when I spend time with her, she has tried to force me to hold them before, and I kindly decline. Ive told her before that I think babies are ugly. She doesnt seem to get it. sigh...
And the esculator thing...I had to ride an elevator everyday several times a day for 4years at my former job. I feel your pain. Merry xmas Tim :)

Tim said...

Bless you! Another thing about babies - I'm always afraid I'll drop them, and the parents will look at me like I'm pure evil, but my response would be: well you shouldn't have given it to me in the first place. It's like holding a plastic bag full of water.

Merry Christmas to you too - have a good 'un!

Miss Smuggersham said...

Ahh, Tim, I've missed your Pepys' stylee slice of lifee...

And I've just seen you Dick Tracy reference down there, so I am off to read six months worth of back posts.

Can I get a cliff notes version, IDV?

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Well, basically, Miss Smuggersham, the last six months of Tim's blog has been fist-biting, wailing, gnashing-of-teeth style angst at my unavailability, cunningly disguised as excerpts from his life.

Read between the lines, my dear. Read between the lines.

Oh, and don't listen to any rantings from Tim that contradict me.

Tim said...

Miss Smuggersham - You've regenerated and returned to us at last! The Justice League of Bloggers is reunited - here, have your golden lasso of biting witty retorts back (IDV never quite got the hang of it).

Inexplicable Device - Yes, you've got it exactly right. That's exactly what it was like.