Sunday, October 16, 2005

Strange Town

Ah, Sunday afternoon. The Other Half is asleep on the sofa watching the football so I'm posting in an effort to avoid the washing up. I've just returned from Asda which was, as usual, filled with blank-faced, dead-eyed people and their unwashed unruly children. I suffer from terrible snobbery in these places and feel compelled (although I've managed to stifle the urge thus far) to hand over my card to pay while announcing in a loud, steady voice "I've got a job, you know". It used to be the same when I lived at my old house with the Ex and we had a pre-pay electricity meter. I'd stand in the queue at the post office and find myself saying to Small Person "Oh, darling, but we have to get the electricity card now as Mummy will be at work all week, won't she?". I ask you, as if anyone cared? My protestations of full-time employment would, however, trigger my working-mother guilt and I'd then stand fretting over whether it was better to seem unemployed, or an uncaring parent hell-bent only on financial gratification rather than the emotional well-being of my child. The only solution was to buy wine, chocolate and Heat magazine and spend an evening lost in a happy reverie of Robbie Williams, divorces and new beginnings.

The shopping population of Asda is symptomatic of the town I now call home. Although I like it here (I moved here from Essex - enough said) it's not without its oddities. I suspect that every town has its little pockets of weirdness - places that you walk through with the feeling that all the angles are slightly wrong and that the people have an indefinable not-quite-rightness about them. As I walked to the tattooist on Friday (I'm not having any more tattoos, honestly) I passed a young woman who was (and please bear in mind that this was at 2pm on Friday, in pretty much the centre of town) reclining on a low wall in what can only be described as a suggestive manner. This in itself is not outside the (very edge of the) boundaries of normal behaviour and, had she not been clutching a fairly new-looking, unboxed video recorder I probably wouldn't have walked past trying not to look in the vain hope of figuring out what the hell she was doing. As I passed, she languidly uncurled herself, stood up and strolled off, still nonchalantly gripping her random electrical equipment as she melted into the crowds. Slightly further along the road was a group of three young women, one of whom was carrying a small boy who looked to be around two years old. They were evidently discussing Christmas presents as the woman holding the child said to him "Well, maybe if you're good you might get a bike". I was smiling to myself at the thought of Christmas being a time of peace, goodwill and bribing your children to be good with the threat of telling Father Christmas how evil they've been and therefore restricting potential presents to an orange and a piece of tinfoil when she followed this suggestion up with "So you'll stop saying "bitch" then? No more "bitch"?". Predictably the boy responded smartly with a cry of "bitch!" and they disappeared down into the underpass. It was a relief to find myself in the relative normality of the tattooist's, and as the burly woman with the swallow tattooed on her neck booked me in I finally began to relax.

In case anyone was considering it, I feel duty-bound to tell you that having a tattoo on your foot fucking hurts. Carry on.


Blogger Wyndham chimed in with...

Lying suggestively on a low wall clutching a video recorder? These Special Offers are getting ridiculous.

16 October, 2005 15:49  
Blogger elvira black chimed in with...

I think I can relate to your take on surreal neighborhood hijinks. As for tattoos, syncronicity must be in effect--my b/f just got yet another one, and the next day on the news there was word about a bizarre tatooing accident here in NYC. Surreal, indeed. Details chez moi.

16 October, 2005 17:05  
Blogger LC chimed in with...

Until recently worked in a god-forsaken village of the damned called Swanley, in Kent, the centre-point of which is a gigantic Asda supermarket. You wouldn't believe the state of the in-bred freaks that I regularly saw wandering around that place.

Last summer the store spontaniously posted a sign by the entrance stating: "All Customers Must be Fully Clothed!" I would love to have witnessed the events that led to that sign being considered necessary.

16 October, 2005 19:45  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

video recorder? was she on her way back from the antiques roadshow perchance?

16 October, 2005 21:42  
Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK chimed in with...

What was she doing with the recorder???

And, indeed ... wine and chocolate make always make everything better. :)

17 October, 2005 00:27  
Blogger S.I.D. chimed in with...

Asda Flu has infected Northern Ireland.Are we safe?

17 October, 2005 00:45  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

WTF on the recorder? Perhaps a hooker who sells a recorded experience? Very strange.

The foot MUST hurt -- all the numerous bones.

17 October, 2005 05:27  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Worth noting that our tattooist is in the less salubrious part of town so why we see so many 'window lickers' in that area is a mystery !!!

17 October, 2005 10:13  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

hey LC, did you hear that thing Mark Thomas did on the radio all about Swanley??

Anyhow, where I live, we have:

Kwik Save

And lovely, lovely Asda.

It's uber-chav-tastic...

17 October, 2005 11:33  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

after a couple of days pondering it i am still none the wiser re: the vcr. if she'd stolen it she was being very nonchalant about it. if she was meeting someone to sell it why not put it in a bag, and why lie on a wall while waiting? the only possible answer is that i don't take nearly enough drugs to fathom it out.

as for asda - scares and annoys me in equal measure. and the cashier had very dirty fingernails. eeurgh.

17 October, 2005 14:21  
Blogger Stef the engineer chimed in with...

Round here tends to be the Morrison's that seems to be populated by half-human/half rat hybrids, but it comes in waves; one moment empty, the next a squalling, yelling mob, as fifty families decide they need to shout at their children, and take 'em to the supermarket, nationally recognised as the centre for pediatric discipline.
What's the tattoo of? (You could get a tattoo of a foot, with a tattoo of a foot, with....
on your foot. That would be sort of interesting.)
Used to be difficult not to stare at some of the tattoos on guys in the sentos (baths) in Osaka. Must have hurt - not the location of them, just sheer acreage and colours in them. Full "t-shirt and shorts" coverage. Some places wouldn't let you in if you had them.
When we came back, I had to bite my tongue when one guy proudly showed his tattoo of the character for "bad." Yes, it was "bad" - as in, "this apple's gone bad."
I think having an ear pierced was scary enough for me.

17 October, 2005 16:51  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

one of these days i might inflict pics of my tattoos on an unsuspecting readership.

the new one is a pretty little black tribal design that starts on the top of my foot by my little toe and ends up sort of round my ankle bone. and i love it.

17 October, 2005 16:57  
Blogger 30-Something chimed in with...

You should go to Tesco, it has a much better class of chav per square inch.

Good blog, btw. Why haven't you let me find you sooner?

17 October, 2005 17:44  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Incidentally, Antiques Roadshow was from the Corn Exchange this week apparently. Maybe she was taking it to see how much it was worth for "insurance purposes"?

Or maybe Argos pay their Christmas staff these days in out-of-date electrical goods?

17 October, 2005 17:57  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

tesco has no proper chav population surely? at least not compared to asda - at the very least a better class of own-brand-shopper? ah...or maybe the lording-it-on-loads-of-benefits scum are more than resigned to their lot in life.

as for the antiques roadshow - coming to this town must have been a bit of a busman's holiday.

17 October, 2005 18:35  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

that was me btw - for some reason it signed me in as anonymous. if i was going to bother with anonymous i'd have also taken the time to note what a fabulous blog this is....

and 30-something? you never asked....

17 October, 2005 18:37  
Blogger 30-Something chimed in with...

I suppose it depends which shit town you're in. Where I live, no supermarket is safe from scum. Except Sainsbury's. Trying "something different" is just too fancy a concept for us north easterners.

True, I didn't ask. But now I've found it and I shall be catching up on your archives.

Damn! Yet another blog funnier than mine.

17 October, 2005 21:39  

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