“Sir.” I turn about to see an elderly gent in tweeds and flat cap.
“I need to load a new television from the store over there. Will that be all right?” It’s quiet this morning, he’s being polite, so why not?
“So long as I can see loading occurring sir, I’ll let you have twenty minutes.” Is my response.
“Oh I shan’t need that long. Thankyou officer.” He waves a battered looking Land Rover onto the single yellow restriction outside the shop in question. The middle aged blonde woman driving looks like she’s his daughter. Both of them rural types by the look of things. I log the Land Rovers VRM in, just in case he’s tempted to take the mickey and leave his vehicle there for more than the allotted loading time. However, the man is as good as his word and takes less than eight minutes to go in, get loaded (With a huge box that only just fit in through the rear door) and push off. He waves to me (Politely) as they drive away with new television. I touch the brim of my cap to acknowledge and begin to move on to my next port of call.
The next thirty seconds I could have done without. Turning around I am faced with the incandescent rage of an obese fortysomething woman. “What’dyer fink yer doing?” She demands.
“Pardon?” Her instant anger leaves me momentarily perplexed. I haven’t booked anyone today. Well not yet anyway.
“You let them fuckin snobs off!”
“Who?” What is she on about?
“Them fuckin snobs in that Range Rover!”
“What?” Where? What Range Rover? The light dawned. “You mean the people picking up the big box from the TV shop?”
“Yeah, them! Why’d you let them snobs off?” She demands. “You their fuckin mate? EH! EH!” a podgy finger is thrust aggressively under my nose.
“No.” I stick to monosyllabic answers. She won’t understand otherwise. “They were loading.” Keep it simple Bill; you’re not exactly dealing with brains here, (Or dress sense).
“Like fuckin hell they were – I’m reporting you! WHAT’S YOUR NAME?”
“My number, madam, is 515. My name is for my friends.” She misses the Lawrence of Arabia reference entirely. What a waste of a great line.
“Yeah, like them fuckin snobs? Eh, Eh!”
“No.” I’m not having this.
“Fuckin brown nose liar!” Now, apart from disguising my identity on this blog and changing dates and places for the same purpose I am both scrupulously honest and accurate. I really hate being accused of dishonesty. The one guaranteed way to really trip my trigger is by calling me a liar.
“First off.” I square up, hands on hips, leaning slightly forward. “It wasn’t a Range Rover.” I’m glaring straight at her and all of a sudden her bravado starts to come unstuck. “It was a rather battered British Racing Green short wheelbase Land Rover, 1983 registration. For your information, madam.” I put as much negative intonation on the honorific as I feel able. The rest is delivered in a tone you could cut glass with. ”I’ve never met the driver or passenger before. The passenger asked me nicely if they could load their new TV straight from the shop because it was too heavy to carry very far, so I gave them some time to do so.” I straighten up. “I do not see what it is to do with you. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Hands down, sidestep and walk on by. Fortunately I leave my verbal assailant speechless. Phew.
Just as a precaution, I take time out to write down the details of the confrontation in my rough notebook, paying careful attention to the dates and times in case the stupid woman made a formal complaint. In these cases I’ve found it invaluable to have a record made at the time and date so if people come and make false complaints about me, at least I have a written record to back up my side of events.
End of shift and I’m just logging my kit back in when Bernie turns up with his ‘you’re in trouble mate’ grin splitting his face from ear to ear. This time I’m ready for it. “Hello Bill. You been picking fights with the punters?”
“No, this about that woman who shouted at me this morning?”
“Yeah, sort of. She went to the Police.” Oh fuck.
“So what? I didn’t threaten her or swear at her. She swore at me. I wrote it all down.” I open up my rough notebook and show Bernie the details.
“Did you log it in your main pocket note book?”
“Of course. What do you take me for?” The notebook entry reads ‘Confronted by irate female member of public who was abusive – see report.’ Time, date and place have been recorded scrupulously.
“Well done Bill, give me a photocopy and copy the rest onto on a report form.” So much for getting home on time. Bugger.
All this over one stupid womans class envy. She hears an educated voice and goes berserk; as if rural people who are polite and speak English correctly were the source of some great personal injustice to her. What’s wrong with speaking English properly instead of some sub literate trans cultural patois which is often less intelligible than Neanderthal grunting? You can call me a snob if you like, but I know who I’d rather break bread with. A poor man who can speak properly, or a rich one who’s “Givin’ it large, innit?”. I may be only a Parking Jobsworth, but I do have some standards; wealth is not purely a monetary consideration.
Snob; Origin. Shorthand for the Latin Sine Nobilitatis shortened to S.Nob (Without Nobility) But there are other definitions. Like this, or this. Believe what you will.