Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

Yesterday, at lunchtime, I made a quick foray into the supermarket, directed shopping, vector in toward target... acquired, basket, check-out. No unnecessary aisles, in and out, like a commando raid behind enemy lines.
Or so it was meant to be, but as usual, most of the checkouts were not in use, and those that were, had huge backlogs.... So, I went along to the rapid self-checkout tills. And blocking access to those were two women, with loaded trolleys*, and kids, gabbing about whatever... 
"Excuse me?" I murmur, politely, pointing to the vacant, unused till ahead of them. They ignore me, continuing to talk, kids busy tearing open packs of colourful* sweets* from the reachable shelves.
I'm in a hurry. There's a truck on its way, and I promised I'd meet it at gate one, and show him where to crane-off the load. So, supermarket to buy lunch.
"Harrr-hum!" I cough. "Ladies?"
They ignore me.
So I do the only thing I can think of. I push a trolley aside, and go scan my goods. All of a sudden, behind me is a very loud silence.... You know that one in the movies? where the very bad scary thing is rising up out of the darkness and the hero's back is turned, oblivious?
I tap in my pin number, pick up the bag, and one of the lane blockers says, in an outraged voice, "Just who do you think you are?"
I think they've only just noticed me, I'm just a tiny irritation to them. 
I shrug and walk away, in time to hear one saying to an assistant "That man pushed in front of us!". They're probably dreaming of claiming damages from the store for hurt feelings.

"Who do you think you are?"
That's a deep one. Because, until it was questioned like that, I'd have answered "I'm me."
But now I'm not sure. The very question evinces doubt. I slept on it, troubled, probably muttering, and grinding my teeth.
And in the morning, I perused myself carefully  in the bathroom mirror. All looked normal. Or almost normal. I looked really closely. If that's an impostor, all I can say is, it's a great job, very convincing. Even got all my flaws just right.
On the way to work, I noted that "I" seemed to know the way, without prompting.
And, if asked, I can recite my grandmother's maiden name, and the name of my first school-teacher. Or so I think.

I'll be watching myself carefully for the next few days to see if I'm genuine.

*uk Trolley =  u.s. 'cart'.
*uk Colourful = u.s. 'colorful'
*uk Sweets = us 'candies'


  1. some people are so rude and selfish, but WE end up feeling in the wrong

  2. It is the loud silences that cause concern, what thaaa!
    But not so much as the "who are you's".
    You want to hold a conversation: I'
    ll tell you who I think I am if you tell me who you think you are.
    Could prove interesting.

  3. Ah no, gz, I had not a moment of guilt or self-reproach.
    Other than that I'd been TOO polite to them.

  4. Goatman: It's a question I'd struggle to answer. Who I am? I'm never quite sure, the answers would vary from day to day, hour to hour. I don't know how to even approach the question. If I asked family and friends, I'd have a myriad of different answers.

    It's a challenge. And I'm virtually never concise, my attempt to answer the question would result in thousands of discarded words.

    Tell me, how would you approach that question?
    How would you attempt to define yourself? By... interests? occupation? character traits, history, where do you even start?

    Seriously, how do you start?

  5. Bwaaaaahaaaaa! Am I the only one who found this incident to be hysterically funny??

    I have to deal with 'line jumpers' every day at work. Those who are offended almost always voice a complaint - to me, the unobserving sales clerk - in a voice just loud enough so that others around them (including the offender) will hear. I call it the Age Of Self-Entitlement.

    I confess, I've been one of those moms holding up a line because I was sidetracked by kids or by a friend I've not seen in a while. But I'm very conscientious and would be the one APOLOGIZING to YOU for holding you up.

    On the larger question of personal identity .... I suppose I'd say:

    Hi. I'm a girl.

    And go from there!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I'd have told them I was Mary Poppins.

  8. Trolley = a railroad car that goes on tracks down the middle of busy streets in old movies.

    Colourful, centre, hippopotamice = oddly-spelled words.

    Sweets = Hotel rooms.

    Till = a cash register; a 1957 song released by both Percy Faith and Roger Williams.

    Gun control = reason why these kinds of situations arise in Yorkshire.

  9. "Till" was also released (says Wikipedia) by Shirley Bassey, Tony Bennett, The Angels, The Vogues, Tom Jones.

    And Bobby Vinton (what a surprise there, eh?)

    And as I started to read that list on Wikipedia, they pimped me with a popup thingy on top of the page panhandling me to keep Wiki free, and show me a picture of a girl who (so they claim) has "contributed" 18,000 edits to Wikipedia. Jesus, get a life, lady.

  10. Recognition for making 18,000 Wikipedia edits (and not getting paid for it) strikes me as ranking right up there with the 2 geeks back in high school who get a little plastic trophy at assembly for not missing a single day of classes all through high school. I mean, what are you gong to DO with that sort of recognition? Wouldn't it have been better to just sleep in a few mornings when you are in high school? Wouldn't it have been better to, say, go out on ONE date in your life instead of doing 18,000 Wiki edits?

    I ask you, Soub, as one who probably had perfect attendance in high school and still has the little machine-signed "certificate of achievement" hung up on your pot'ry room wall somewhere. Not me, by gosh. I wouldn't show up to school unless they tracked me down at the pool hall and DRUG me there.

    But then, I am that shining example the school administrators always point to of what a loser you'll be if you don't show up t'school on a regular basis.

    I see my word verification is going to be "stinered" and I suppose I am.

  11. Trolley=Tram
    Trolleys=Undergarments of the male nether-regions
    Skivvies=hard-working young female drudges/kitchen workers.

    Soubripedia=antidote to truth, information at least as valid as guesswork.

    Woman with 18k edits=reason for doubt.
    Soubripedia says:- "Editing? Save your pencil. Your first guess is as likely to be right as your second one, and is a sign of self-doubt.
    Stand your ground, look 'em in the eye, and lie like a corrupted weasel.

    Soubriquet, a man of infinite taste and wisdom, and the most modest, humble, unassuming demigod you could ever meet, held the school record for being on staff-detention and prefect's detention. A week in which his name was not read out by the head-teacher, in assembly, amongst the list of wrongdoers and malfeasants was a week in which the Head had probably forgotten his reading-glasses.
    Staff detention was not too bad. An hour pretending to do schoolwork, at the back of the geography room whilst actually reading old copies of National Geographic.
    Prefect's detention. That was the tough one. Copying latin texts out backwards, and never letting the writing hand stop, for an hour after school every wednesday.
    Which is whiy I can tell you that hippo=horse, potamos=river.


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