Small Town Strangers


I’m back in London, but whilst reflecting on my time in my home town, I realised that quite a few strange people had said quite a few strange things in a rather short space of time. Considering that I’m a bit of an inside-dweller, what with my laziness and hayfever and excuses, it’s surprising that this number of things happened to me:

Incident 1:
Whilst I was out lunching with my darling mother and a friend (a different one from the last post; I know, I know, I’m so popular), I went off to order the food ‘cos I’m a right good daughter and that, and something slightly odd happened. Some men that were sat opposite asked my friend to swap their dog, which they assured him was a pedigree, for my mother. Thankfully, my friend reminded them that my mother was a human being, and was thus worth a little bit more than a bulldog (not to be speciesist, sorry Singer). When these charming men decided to leave, they then also asked me how much it would cost them to buy my mother, and I politely informed them that she was not for sale; I’m no P.I.M.P (also not a trafficker. Just sayin’).

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Incident 2:
This occurred in a Weatherspoon’s, which for my vast foreign audience, is a sticky-floored beer cavern with a particular and rather peculiar smell – the McDonald’s of the pub world, if you will. A man approached me and yet another friend (this is getting ridiculous, I know – Im sorry to make you feel bad about yourself), and repeatedly told us that we could never trust anyone, which made me wonder how we could ascertain whether or not he was telling the truth. Incidentally, whilst we were skating through the greasy carpet, I heard a man introduce the bar tender to his lad mates as “Tits – sorry, Leah”. Urgh, urgh, double urgh.

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Incident 3:
Whilst me and the friend you will remember from incident 2 (see above) were wandering up the high street, a group of boys felt the need to aggressively shout at us that we were “quite fit” (attractive as opposed to moderately athletic, they couldn’t possibly know about all those Marathons I’ve been eating). Although I, of course, agree with their sentiment, I hadn’t realised that simply walking around outside warranted such a threatening response.

All of these happenings made me feel a wee bit uncomfortable, which was, I suppose, exacerbated by having been away from my town. The thing is – these things don’t happen to me in London, which I find rather odd, because I thought there were all sorts in the big bad city. There seems to be an odd kind of atmosphere and human being present in small English towns that peters out once cathedrals get involved. Aside from casual sexism, what is it that makes people think that they can act, if lightheartedly, in actually quite an intrusive and intimidating way – is it in the water? Is it in the air? Is it ‘cos of the incest?

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