Thursday, 31 December 2015

Mixed Encounters.

There’s something I’ve wanted to know for about three years now. The woman who runs one of the charity shops in Ashbourne has a Romanesque air about her. Unconventional use of the term, I know, but what I mean is that she looks as though she ought to be speaking with an accent from one of the Romance languages – face, form and manner of movement all suggest sub-Slavic origins. And she blushes easily when there are young men around, which is a dead giveaway. So today I plucked up the courage to ask her:

‘Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?’

‘Not at all.’

‘Do you have French or Italian ancestry?’

‘Italian. I suppose it’s the nose, is it?’

‘No, it’s your eyes mostly.’ (Which is true.)

She seemed quite pleased by that, so much so that I’m hopeful of getting a second hand pair of socks half price one of these days. (Only joking. Charity shops never sell second hand socks, underwear or chewing gum.) So that’s that sorted at last.

*  *  *

In stark contrast, the woman who prepared my Americano in the coffee shop gave me a little pot of disgusting soya milk instead of cream, a fact which went unnoticed until I’d poured some of it into my coffee. She’s the same woman who wiped my table with a damp cloth last week, thus rendering it wet and unsuitable for leaning on. I didn’t drop her in it with the manager since I don’t want an inspector calling (the Priestley kind) but I do wonder whether she has issues.

*  *  *

The most beguiling encounter was with a woman in Sainsbury’s. I must have been partly blocking a space she wanted to get through, and instead of attracting my attention and saying ‘Excuse me,’ she put her hands either side of my waist and moved me out of the way like an abandoned shopping trolley. It’s really difficult to know what to do in that situation, except go with the flow.

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