Today has been an uncharacteristically anger-filled day. Terse e-mail exchanges this morning gave way to a trip to library without my laptop charger. This equaled a short writing session, when I have MEGA-HEAPS of writing work to get through. (Because I am so much busier and more popular than you. Everyone is talking about it.)
Returning from the library I had a run in with one of those people who are, as my mother would say, not quite as others. It was an elderly lady with unkempt grey and pink hair. She looked like one of those people who had at one point been rather a zany, fun Aunty, rather than, as now, something out of The Dark Crystal. While queueing behind her in Tescos on Goldhawk Rd, I incurred her wrath. As till positions 1 and 2 became available, in that order, she manouevered herself into position 1 and placed her birthday card purchase down on the till. The lady at till 2 and I made eye contact and I trundled down to berth number 2. Whereupon the villain of our piece, (Pinkhaired crone) spun round and shrieked at me that she was here first and struck me with her card before moving down to my till, calling me a big fleet. I presume that she meant flea, but let emotion get the better of her. It became apparent that she didn't care which till she was at, just so long as she was served and had finished her transaction before I was served. As I put down my stuff on the counter at till 1, she exhorted her cashier to swipe her card faster, paid with lightning speed and then rushed from the shop.
I was INCANDESCENT with rage. In this weird insignificant interaction, I had been made to feel like I had been rude, hit with a saccharine birthday card and called out in front of a queue of people who probably hadn't really seen what was going on and so assumed I was being a jerk to an old lady. This was the shit cherry on top of my crap day cake. I haven't felt as angry as this for a long time and it made me think:
Anger and despair can so often be linked to when we feel like life is off kilter. I felt aggrieved to have been accused of jumping the queue, but more unnerved by the fact that I was engaged with someone who clearly didn't see the world quite like me. One must partake of this action 10 times a week. We all know how the system works. You queue up for the tills to see the shopkeeper/checkout person, you pay, you go home and drink your Baileys through straws you've fashioned from Salami slices.
Coming up against somebody who operates a different system like this woman, who is clearly not on your level in terms of her perception of the world, and I don't mean that as an insult, is supremely unnerving. It is unsettling to encounter someone for whom black isn't black and white isn't white, at least the way you understand it. I think that's why I was so angry. No-one like being shrieked at by an old woman in the fashionable local boutique, but I think she just touched a weird little animal nerve in my body that said 'this person is very different from you. Be afraid and angry'.
I think this subconscious sensation is related to the feelings that racist and homophobes must surrender to, when they get all eggy with ethnic minorities and gay people. It is a fear of the other, a horror of the Lovecraftian, non-Euclidean geometry of black women, or two fellas kissing each other.
If I were more connected to people that for want of thinking up a better word I shall define as "crazy", would I have found the incident less infuriating?
Possibly although even if I felt more connected to her, I think this was a weird one.
The food at the British Library is rad.
I lied in the last post. I will now tell people about my blog.