Monday, July 21, 2008

Nosy, Annoying and Just Plain Rude.

I had an interesting- at least to me- encounter with a man on Friday evening. And it has annoyed the shit out of me ever since
I was at a bus top, clutching a bottle of wine, minding my very own business when this man, who I had to pass as I arrived, turned and said.
'Which bus are you waiting for?'
'Oh, the 15,' says I.
'There should be one along any minute.' Says he, taking enough steps closer to invade my personal space. 'I think the heavens are going to open. But sure maybe you'll bring a bit of luck.'
I did that polite smile people do.
He blew a lot of cigarette smoke over me. 'I'm going to a barbeque in Donnybrook, in the rugby club. We could do without the rain.'
He then smiled at me-yellow teeth, waiting for me to say something.
Now I'm a country girl, born and raised in an era and area where it's rude not to speak when spoken to. But to be honest I didn't want to be stuck in conversation with this man. He had disgusting yellow teeth and he was smoking and worse he was FORCING me into a conversation I neither invited or wanted.
Naturally politeness won out.
'Hopefully it will hold off.' I said.
Then I made it my business to look away. I watched traffic.
'You out for the night?'
I glanced back.
'I'm going for dinner.'
'Oh whereabouts?'
I did pause at this. None of your business was the correct response, but again I capitulated.
'Sutton.'
'Sutton!? Jesus that's a long way out, how are you going to get back from there?'
This time I frowned at him. This time I wasn't going to answer.
'Will you get a taxi?'
Drat.
'I suspect so.'
'Meeting the boyfriend?'
'Just friends.'
'Do you have a boyfriend?'
I looked at him. Fifties, balding, leering. That right, leeering.
'Yes.'
'What does he do?'
I pretended I didn't hear him and squinted in a really stupidly over-actingly way at a passing car, as though I thought I knew the person.
'What does he do?' He repeated.
'He's a Guard.' I said.
And then I was saved from making up any more lies or from letting my brow drop further by the appearance of our bus. Despite his best attempts I insisted he get on the bus first-namely so I could see where he was sitting so that I could make sure I didn't sit near him.
I sat down the back a few seats behind him and seethed all the way to Rathmines-where he got off.
What was I seething about?
I don't bloody know, but I do know. Why did I lie and say 'guard'? Why had I answered his questions? I don't like being forced into conversation, why, when it was a clear as the nose on my face that I didn't want to engage in any conversation, did that annoying man persist? Why didn't I say 'Excuse me, I don't believe where I'm going is really any of your business"? Nor how I was going to get back from where I was going.
Where is the line between being polite and allowing yourself to be interrogated?
Making a mountain out of a molehill? Or is it?
'IPod.' the paramour said when I told him. 'Don't ever go on a bus without one.'
Fine, but I shouldn't have to insulate myself with technology to enjoy peace and quiet though.
Demanding information /conversation, I am against it.

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41 Comments:

Blogger JL Pagano said...

Even before I got to reading about your paramour's advice I was thinking iPod. There's a lot of stuff we shouldn't have to do but in most cases it's easier to just do it anyway.

9:56 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don’t mind the little asshole. I hate getting on buses, I hate the smell, the dirty seats, having to breathe in peoples air, having to hold on to rails when God only knows what little filth was mauling them but I especially hate the weirdo’s who feel it is their right to talk to you and should you ignore them you are the one deemed rude. I drive or walk the 40 mins to work rather than get a stinky bus. You were right to lie; he could have been a weirdo stalker for all you know. You should have said Guard though; you should have said serial killer.

Nonny

9:56 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Space Invaders. Public transport. Weather. Sad, lonely and probably smelly aul' fellas. All part of life's rich tapestry.

But nosy feckers can feck right off.

10:03 a.m.  
Anonymous problemchildbride said...

Aaah, manners make liars of us all. Once they're in you, it's hard to get them out.

"Your mother is really enjoying her sewing machine class on Wednesdays but dislikes the woman who sits next to her, the one that's a cousin of that fellow with the skelly eye and the tackety boots who won second place for his cauliflower at the county fair? How interesting! But it might have been third place? Oh, do go ON!

10:05 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Aye, the way I was raised to would have been unthinkable to not answer.
I thought he had a bloody cheek asking me how I was going to get back from Sutton though.

10:08 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

But is it impolite to say, 'Excuse me, I would rather not have this conversation.'
To me it seems so, but then why is it?

10:10 a.m.  
Anonymous problemchildbride said...

Because you're a nice person who doesn't want to hurt people's feelings. Even if that person's being a tiresome twat.

10:29 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh my God, you've got to go over to John's site and see what MIGHT have happened on my bus journey. I think I got off pretty lucky now.
http://www.johnbraine.com/2008/07/son-of-preacher-man.html

10:34 a.m.  
Blogger gimme a minute said...

'Excuse me, I would rather not have this conversation.'

It's not impolite, but the problem is that the kind of freakazoid who starts random conversations at bus stops tends to react badly to this kind of comment.

10:39 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Well, there is that too.

10:46 a.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

ugh, I think everyone's been in that situation.

From hair dressers to taxi drivers to friends parents, there's lots of awkward polite boring conversations but people asking for personal information is the worst.

10:54 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

It's just so strange Morgor, I'd never ask a stranger where they were going and then how they were getting back. It's just odd to me. And odder still that I would feel 'obliged' to provide answers for fear of offending or seeming rude.
Oh well, the paramour is right, iPod.

11:06 a.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

It's not impolite, but the problem is that the kind of freakazoid who starts random conversations at bus stops tends to react badly to this kind of comment.

That's why, if you do decide to reply, anything you say should be followed up with a swift flick-knife to the eyeball.

11:15 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Escalation into violence huh? I like your calm thinking on this.

11:33 a.m.  
Blogger Dr. James McInerney said...

Is pepper spray impolite. I need guidance on this one.

11:43 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

You might have said, "What's it to you, are you some kind of pervert?"

And he might have replied, "Actually, yes, I am. Can I sit beside you on the bus?"

Then you would have had the perfect excuse to try out some of your moves on him.

This kind of guy is not going to be fooled by an ipod. He's just going to get closer and shout.

11:44 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Snarf Docky, trigger happy, you, nevah!
The old Ipod might well have been a deterrent, Conan.
Aw look it's nothing I can put my finger on exactly, he wasn't intimidating in a physical sense-despite the personal space invading, it's...just that I felt obliged to answer, even though I felt he was being very rude asking me so many questions. I was sort of torn, I can't explain it any better, or why it bothered me so much.

11:54 a.m.  
Anonymous DeeDee Ramona said...

Ah yes the "cross-examination" version of the chat up line. I don't know why anyone thinks that's attractive.

Some of them follow up by introducing themselves and insisting on shaking hands. That'd be fine if it was France or Holland or Germany where people shake hands with their work colleagues every day.

No-one ever does that here unless they are trying to get something out of you you'd rather not give.

I bet his breath stank too.

12:07 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So. He had yellow teeth. But he was in his fifties. I guess a lot of men in their fifties have balding heads and yellowing teeth.

Maybe he was slightly impaired, or depressed or who knows. One way or the other, it didn't kill you to answer him back, did it?

In Ireland before people were gadding about clutching bottles of wine, their used to be chat, and conversation. Polite words exchanged. Now, as is amply demonstrated by this cameo, people are too preoccupied, too busy or, dare I say it, too posh? to chat.

Are you too posh FMC??

12:11 p.m.  
OpenID grimsaburger said...

You should have said Guard though; you should have said serial killer.

Ah, but serial killer is less of a profession and more of a hobby. To be safe, I'd say "A Guard who moonlights as a serial killer."

12:17 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Ah thats bollix anon - I'm sick of all this "back when Ireland was poor, we were better people for it" shite. We still had annoying fucktards at the bus stop and were still socially conditioned to grudgingly entertain them, it just so happened that we didnt have as much money.
Why should anyone feel pressed to engage in uncomfortable small talk?

12:41 p.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

Ah thats bollix anon - I'm sick of all this "back when Ireland was poor, we were better people for it" shite.

He's probably gonna go on a rant now about how much the church did for us, and about those thieving "romanians". (not even roma, romanians, cos there's no difference apparently)

12:49 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

you know FMC, i think conan is right - the ipod probably wouldn't have worked at all. when i had to regularly commute by bus or subway i always always brought work with me - and at any down time had my nose stuffed in it. that way any time i was distracted by an unwelcome interruption i could simply say 'i'm sorry, but i'm loaded down with work and under a deadline - could you please leave me alone?' it worked 99% of the time. the 1% it didn't i sat as close to other people that i could.... it's amazing how strangers will stick up for one another if someone is obviously being a pest.

now an ipod plus a pile of paperwork plus dark sunglasses? that might just work!

1:23 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

You could have replied to him in pure Gaelige (sp?) or if you were a bit of a sci fi fan, in pure Klingon, at the same time crossing your eyes and making weird hand gestures. He'd soon back off!

1:59 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

There will always be men who feel they have every right to interrupt your time and space whether it's telling you to smile (which I fucking hate) or asking you about your plans or relationship status. Paramour's right about the ipod. Also take a book.
This isn't a foolproof method to guarantee you go unmolested, mind. In the past I've been so wrapped up in the book and music that I'm slow to notice the dude masturbating on the subway. Still, for most of the time a book and music wards them off.

2:20 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh I'd love to know Klingon, ever since I saw Frasier Crane read a poignant speech to his son at his Bat Mitzvah! Classic.

I fucking hate to be told to smile too. Or 'cheer up it might never happen' just because you're walking down the road NOT grinning like a loon. You know, the way most people do.

It's not just women who suffer though, I recently a young little Emo chap sitting minding his own business on the 15B get a ferocious fucking time from two dickheads who ought to have been old enough to have more sense. Honestly, the shit they said to him. Upstairs on that bus can be a nightmare sometimes.

I swear to marmalade though, if that god preacher come on and starts sermonising I'll be arrested for violence.

2:37 p.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

I was stopped by an old lady looking for directions, so I told her where she needed to go. I had been happily cycling past but she turned the subject onto where's the local church.

She ended up sermonising to me saying that you should go to mass because otherwise your life will fall apart. She was from the sisters of mary or something.

I was fairly pissed off after I had made my excuses.

Moral of the story : don't help old ladies.

2:57 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

No no, don't help RELIGIOUS old ladies.

3:01 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

They're all the same.

3:20 p.m.  
Blogger Manuel said...

saw this, thought of you.....
.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7518853.stm

12:16 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

And yet he didn't demand to know how they were getting home...strange.

12:38 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not your social duty to affirm these rude losers' sense of entitltment. What they're basically asking a complete stranger to do is to divulge extremely personal details for their entertainment.

I used to feel the same obligation but now I tell these people that whatever they're asking me is none of their business. If they get huffy, I tell them to eat shit and die, literally. And, although it's never gotten to this point, I will kick the crap out of these people if necessary.

Assholes like this guy need to be smacked periodically or else they get too big for their britches. You know that old saying, 'give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile.'

4:42 a.m.  
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