THERE I was in Penney’s, queuing up like all the other decent human beings, socks and jocks in hand (I’ve yet to find a brand that can match Primark for comfort while also allowing full range of motion to my sizeable thighs).
At least 20 shoppers - each of them bearing their own haul of cheap undies - separated myself and the counter but thankfully I was prepared for the inevitable wait.
Planning ahead, I had packed the ipod which meant I would’t have to listen to the horrid 14-year-old in front of me tell her gaggle of nodding dominions what an intolerable wench her mother was for ringing to see when she’d be home.
“So she was like ‘When you will be home for your dinner?’ and I was like, ‘God mom would you just relax, I’ll be home later, don’t you have anything else to do besides annoy me? Just leave me alone.’”
Honestly, if one of my future offspring ever responded like that to an offer of free food, the locks at home would be changed and the door slammed in their face faster than they could say “Daddy I’m sorry”.
Before I had to listen to anymore of the poisonous rant, I slipped in the earphones, closed my eyes and the Hulk was kept at bay for another while.
Sigur Ros makes everything alright.
I released a long, loud exhalation of relief which caused everyone within earshot to get more than a little alarmed, but they all calmed down upon realising that my hands were in full view and inactive.
The queue moved along nicely, while Vicky Pollard resumed her bitchfest which was now thankfully drowned out by the far more pleasant sounds being played in my ear.
And then, just as I had relaxed into the rhythm of the queue, out of nowhere comes this line-jumping old tart, taking her place at least five spaces above me. I briefly considered strangling her with the socks but abandoned my plans after remembering that Penney’s frown on that kind of thing, especially if you haven’t paid for the socks.
Then I hoped that the little teenage horror in front of me may have had some bark to go with her bite but she was still so consumed by what an absolute gimp her mother was that she hadn’t even noticed the infringement.
Now before I proceed any further, I should point out that I’m actually quite a chivalrous sort, holding doors for ladies, giving up seats on the bus and all that. But this one was taking liberties, presuming that because she was an elder of the female tribe, she could just land herself anywhere in the queue, regardless of how long the others had been waiting.
After establishing that all the other cowards in the line had no intention of pulling the invader up on her offence, I hit her with the normally effective tactic of making several loud, indignant snorts while attempting to fix her with a beady stare.
Unfortunately she’d obviously done this before though, as she gave off the impression of being completely oblivious to the beady-eyed snorter a few spaces behind her.
Okay Skippy, you want to dance, I can dance.
If the snorts weren’t going to work, I had no option but to pull out the big guns. I started barking out some of the angriest coughs Penney’s has heard it quite some time. It’s a genuine mystery how someone didn’t call security such was the anger conveyed in my throat-clearing.
But still no reaction. This conniving little old lady may have been a pensioner but she had a poker face that would put Doyle Brunson to shame.
It was clear to me now that full-blown confrontation was the only answer. She’d skipped her last queue. Time to pay the piper Granny, and for the record, the piper is going to buy six pairs of socks and two pairs of large boxers before you get to that counter.
“Excuse me? Sorry, excuse me? Sorry, m’am? Sorry,it’s just that there’s a..”
As reprimands go, this wasn’t up there with the best of them. So sheepish were my attempts to get Skippy’s attention that she hadn’t even heard me, even though I’d apologised to her three times already.
“Sorry miss, there’s a queue behind you miss.”
That’s more like it, now you’ve got your gander up. Give her hell Hogan!
“Excuse me m’am but you have skipped a queue. Just because you tick the Old and Female boxes doesn’t entitle you to free passage at every turn you know.”
But it was too late, she’d already made it to the till and had paid for her goods leaving me standing there, now fuming, and looking to those around me like someone who goes around shops abusing pensioners for sport.
Back in go the earphones.
Sigur Ros makes everything alright.