Hell is other people

Top: Primark; skirt: ebay; belt: M&S
Please don’t ask what my bust is doing – I think it’s an optical illusion caused by the stripes…

I complain about other people loudly and regularly. I am, perhaps, particularly vocal about people here on my blog. It is my little corner of rant, if you will, my space to vent my spleen on the subject of the Great British Public, the mannerless masses, the great unwashed…

You see, the Great British public and I… well, I’d like to say we have a love-hate relationship, but it simply wouldn’t be true. Our relationship is hate-hate. I hate them and they hate me. They get in my way, trip me up, slow me down and generally annoy the hell out of me with their downright rude and totally oblivious attitude. They drive me to the very brink wherever I encounter them…

Except yesterday. Yesterday was different. Yesterday I encountered not one, not two, not even three, but four accounts of chilvarlric behaviour, and all in the space of my lunch hour. All were performed by women, and two, women with buggies. Commonly the worst offenders…

You see, I was in a hurry. My situation having changed so drastically, I now find myself in a living situation wherein the nearest corner shop is a 20 minute walk away. A jaunt out for milk is a 40 minute march. And the local village is too small for banks to be open on a Saturday, or for anything resembling high street shops to be in situ, so all of my browsing and banking has to be squeezed into the one lunchtime a week I am in the office. So naturally, I was a flurry of shopping bags and skirts.

I confess, I was wearing clippy shoes – the sort that you cannot fail to hear approching at a speed from behind, before grinding to a halt the moment they draw level. I can only assume that this was the reason behind three of the four encounters, all of whom slid to the side to allow me to pass unenecumbered. A mother and daughter team with a pushchair, a couple of elderly ladies and a group of middle-aged shoppers all willingly stepped aside.

And the final perpetrator of kindness was a young mother with a pushchair, who was mounting the ramp as I was mounting the stairs. Twice our paths crossed, and both times, she stopped short and smiled brightly to let me cross first. Which was actually unnecessary, and not at all what I would consider right and proper… but greatly appreciated as a gesture all the same! Her smile made me smile!

I think it is important to note occasions such as these, particularly when I am so regularly and so vehemently ranting about bad manners. Even in the middle of the Cowley centre on a mid-month Wednesday lunchtime, there are those out there with the good grace and gentility to treat those around them with respect and consideration.

I must try to draw strength from this the next time I’m trodden underfoot by the inconsiderate commuter masses…


7 thoughts on “Hell is other people

  1. I completely understand how you feel. Perhaps it’s one of those universal truths that the masses often tend to be rude and disrespectful. Where I live, the larger issue is people who feel entitled to, well, everything. It drives me crazy. While I complain loudly about it, I do think that regularly dealing with so much rudeness makes it all the more glorious and uplifting when people go out of their way to be kind.

  2. You know I can rant as much as the next person – but I tell you what, coming back to England has been lovely. It’s not that Americans are actually rude, it is just that they don’t do the same “Please, thank you, sorry, sorry” thing that we Brits do, and it comes across as impolite. I have never been more glad to hear complete over compensation for the smallest of mishaps as I have this past week!

  3. I often wonder if I should really be a hermit as I do find myself ranting about everyone when I’m out and about. It’s like everyone seems to leave their brains on their doorsteps when they leave home!!

    Or I’m just a miserable blighter??? LOL!

  4. I know how you feel, people quite regularly push in front of me in queues or just stand in the way, despite it being very obvious that I cam trying to get past. Funny you should mention the shoes but I do find people treat me differently depending on what I am wearing. If I am more dressed up, they tend to move out the way, hold the door open and smile more (or perhaps it is me smiling or my confidence that affects how they treat me)

  5. Now Caroline, you know I love your blog and I love to have a quick catchup with your fabulous writing but as a buggy pushing mother of 4 years I’m dissapointed a little bit by your generalisations in this post. We’re not all that bad!!
    On a brighter note I’m so pleased to read about how happy you are now. you deserve all that you have as you have worked so hard for it. Looking forward to meeting up with you one day for a glass of bubbles. Jane

    • I do have a tendency to generalise, it’s true… But I also hold it true that when it comes to rudeness, the number of times I have been barged, cut-up, ankle-clipped or ignored by women with buggies for whom I have opened doors/stepped aside/run halfway across a cafe to pull chairs out of the way far out-numbers the same by those without…

      It’s lovely to hear from you, sweetie! I do hope you’re well and happy – and the wee ones too! Lots of love to you all xxx

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