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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

On Saturday afternoon I was crossing the road, having bought all the ingredients needed to make a badly planned and yet, despite all the odds, ultimately successful attempt at a shepherds pie (sans shepherd). Weighed down both by the shopping bags and the anticipation of culinary disaster (the dread of which, it turns out, was wrongly placed, as I’m apparently an expert chef type lady, and would make anyone a marvellous wife), I was paying little attention to the crossing of the road. I gave a mere glance at the men who, by way of colour, tell me whether or not to cross. The green man was present, but flashing, and so I decided on reflection to stand and watch the flashing man (going on advice given to me years earlier by a nun, but that’s another story) rather than making a dash for it. When the motorbike drove by so quickly and so close to the curb, the only reason I didn’t fall forward and into the path of the second bike, travelling at much the same speed, was the anchoring weight of the shopping bags.

An old woman had been halfway across the road, crossing with the blessing of the little green man before he had started his flashing, and the only reason complete disaster was averted was because the driver of the Royal Mail van spotted in time the potential for carnage and, quick thinking man that he was, blasted his horn at said old lady as she crossed. This caused her to stop in her tracks and was thereby missed by the first bike, the second bike and the third bike, as they roared down the road without a care. The poor woman looked like she was about the keel over then and there. When the bikes had finished, we all breathed in again, and the Royal Mail driver got out of his van to check that the old lady’s pulse was still going. She crossed over to the centre and joined me in the middle, her face looking as white as her hair.

We all began tutting, and I resisted the urge I had to give her a hug (inappropriate touching being one of the things I’m no longer allowed to indulge in, thanks to the court ruling) but the best thing about this whole situation was the fantastic yelling that happened immediately behind us.

The smallest Jamaican woman I’ve ever seen in my life set about roaring her disapproval to the rapidly departing motorbikes, screaming lord alone knows what in the strongest accent, deepest pitch and loudest bellow I’ve ever known come from anyone ever. It was particularly surprising coming from such a tiny shell of a woman. She even started a bit of jerking about, so incensed was she by the traffic infringement she had just witnessed, foot stomping and arm flapping with all her might, leaving her pull-behind-you shopping bag unattended for the moments it took to perform. The old lady and I stopped our head shaking and frankly British tutts of disapproval and stood instead in admiration, watching the Jamaican lady execute her dance of anger. It seemed so much better a response.


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