The Black Menace in a collar that is sooo last year
Twice in two weeks I have been accused of having bad manners. Both times by extremely rude people. Bizarrely, both occasions happened on two days of the year when folk are supposed to be nice to one another. The first was on Christmas Eve and the second was on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve for those with puzzled looks). I’m not sure yet if I’m going to blog about No2. We’ll see.
Yet in my list of things that drive me insanely angry, bad manners is right up there. I mean littering is No1, but bad manners is easily is the top five, along with folk who kick dogs, being shouted at from another room and ketchup. I like to think my own personal manners are in tip top condition.
Incident 1: Pets at Home.
I am in pet shop superstore Pets at Home because like the sort of idiot that in later years will wear one of those fleeces with huskies on it and make her husband wear a matching one, I thought it was important that I buy my dog a Christmas present. Also in Pets at Home is every other person that owns a pet in the North East of Scotland. Some of them even have their dogs with them. Nobody has a cat with them, because as many of you will know, cats don’t celebrate Christmas.
My shopping list is simple:
- Squeaky toy shaped like a small rugby ball
- Chewy treats that also clean dog teeth
- A new dog bowl, preferably in the same colour as my kitchen (don’t judge me!!!)
- A new collar for the Black Menace to replace last year’s light blue polka dot one that only a dog secure in his masculinity can pull off.
- Don’t buy a guinea pig.
I have managed to find all but the collar and have made it past the small animals without scooping one up, so I’m on target for getting out of shopping hell, getting home and starting Christmas proper....until I hear this noise coming in my direction.
“You could have said EXCUSE ME!”
I stop my search for the exact colour of collar that will bring out the deep hazel tones in a cocker spaniel’s eyes and look back. I assume that I am about to witness a barney of some kind. Indeed I am. But I am to be invited to take a key role in that barney.
“Aye, you heard me. You could have said EXCUSE ME. Have ye nae got ony manners?”
(Note: Are you all following my Scots dialect here? I assume you are since no-one’s said anything. Okay then, I’ll carry on).
“Me?” I say.
“Aye- you. You barged straight past us. Nae manners. You’re supposed to say ‘excuse me’ when you go past someone.”
She’s one of those bulldog chewing a wasp types. Hair straightened to within an inch of its lank life, one of those lassies who is delighted leggings are back in the shops as they are perfect for her for their slimming qualities. She’s wearing sports wear but is unaware of the irony involved in this act. She is very confrontational. Her skinny baseball cap wearing boyfriend/husband looks slightly weary. He’s seen her do this sort of thing many times before. He’s probably been ordered into battle on her behalf in many Saturday night takeaway joints, but this time he is sober enough to be embarrassed.
“Are you lecturing me on my manners?”
“Aye, cos ye’ve got none!”
Clearly I have walked past this couple and she feels that I have somehow invaded her personal space. I have no recollection of them being in my field of vision until I responded to her shouting at me.
“This is incredible. Only two folk are allowed to comment on my manners. And they are my parents and even then...”
“Aye well maybe they didnae teach ye ony manners. Cos you’ve got none!”
This is ridiculous. Even if I had gone right up to this woman’s face and burped right in it as I passed by her at the doggie treats, this reaction would be starting to get into overkill status.
“Get lost! You’re the one who’s rude.”
“I’ve goat manners!! It’s you fa hivnae!” (Needing a translation now? Just let me know...)
“So you’ve said...”
We are never going to resolve this. She's clearly been captain of the debating team at school AND I could be minutes from her producing her graduation certificate from the local Charm School to prove her point into the bargain. I could also be minutes away from what violent people in films refer to as the act of “teaching someone some manners”. I try to walk away casual-like without making it look like the run it is desperate to be.
I pay for my items, then I leave.
And one dog doesn’t get a new collar for Christmas...