I was walking towards the train station, filing my nails and clearly looking a bit shifty. I say that as I was physically stopped by a Policeman i.e. he actually touched me. Brave man I hear you cry. I didn't hit him, not because he was a Policeman, but because I swear, he couldn't have been more than 12, and I thought he might cry. So he said to me, whilst pointedly staring at my nail file:
|Source: CPJ Blog|
"I think you've just demonstrated that you are more than capable of asking." I replied.
Admittedly, the whole interaction would have been a lot shorter and less confrontational had I just stated the obvious, but: I had a banging headache; was late for work; my nails looked like I'd just come off of a building site; AND HE TOUCHED ME. I wasn't in the mood.
"You have also demonstrated that the social norms of the country you live in are a mystery to you. It's not usual to touch someone without their permission."
"What?" he asked, looking more than a little confused...
"Have you recently arrived in the country?" I asked. "For future reference, in England, we generally don't say 'What' like that to strangers."
He glanced over at his mate, who I think was 8. Side note: How old do you have to be to get into the police these days? Also, have the Met instituted an equal opportunities policy that extends to dwarfs? Laudable, but I'm not sure how useful they would be in a crisis... Anyway, for some reason I suspect he was a bit embarrassed, because he suddenly got all aggressive with me.
"Are you being rude to me young lady?" He asked.
"I'll have you know sonny," I replied "I am old enough to be your Mother. Furthermore, I believe when you reflect upon this conversation later today, it will be clear to you which of us was the ruder..."
He lost patience at this point, which was a bit of a shame as I had really started to enjoy myself.
"What's that in you hand?" he barked.
"It's a nail file." I said, holding it in front of him.
"And what did you plan to do with that?" he said.
"Well initially, I had planned to employ it as it's original inventor intended and use it to file my nails. If I'm honest, since this conversation started, other ways that I could possibly use it have been popping into my head thick and fast."
"What?" he said looking confused again and going a bit red.
"There you go with the 'What' again." I said "You'll come a cropper using that sort of tone with the wrong person one day. Just a friendly warning. Now, as much as I'd love to spend more time instructing you on grammar and vocab, I'm late for work, so if you've nothing else I'll be on my way."
It turned out he had nothing else, so I went on my way.