‘Talk to me, doll. I’m from another planet.’
Now, I’m the first to admit that it’s a pretty outrageous thing for an ageing, balding, laughably unprepossessing example of the masculine gender to say to one of Sainsbury’s more attractive young female staff. It is; I know it is. I’m not stupid, just careless. And I do – believe it or not – have a defence:
She looked like she needed rescuing. She was being followed around by a most irritating elderly male colleague who was insistently whingeing work related trivia to her, and she honestly looked like she’d had enough. She did; I swear it; reading body language is one of the few things I’m reasonably good at. And I’d already realised how irritating this guy was because he’d just irritated me with an irritatingly inept reply to a query and I’d been moved to speak sharply to him. That’s unusual in Sainsbury’s. I’ve done it lots of times in Homebase, but Sainsbury’s staff are more amenable than Homebase staff and I’m always polite and friendly with them (unless they’re managers, of course; they’re fair game.)
So anyway, I realised the moment I’d said it that the young woman might never have heard of Hitchhikers, much less been familiar with one of Zaphod’s better lines. ‘That’s a quotation from a book, by the way,’ I hurriedly exclaimed, and I think I got away with it.
And it served to show yet again that some things never change. My habit of pressing the throttle before my brain is in gear is one of them. I’ve had more eye rolls and head shakes than most people have had chip butties, and I suppose it’s just the way of things.