There are so many abhorrent and inhumane things happening on this planet, which most of us let pass by with a tut and a raised eyebrow. Yet perversely our own trivial day-to-day set-backs can drive us into an almost murderous fury. “Yes, I understand that that ruthless dictator is carrying out systematic genocide. But someone has just pushed in in front of me at the coffee shop. Something must be done.”
I really wish I could channel my own entitled anger into something useful, but it’s like a super power that only manifests itself at moments of self-interest, when I transform into Indignant Man.
We’d bought a toy from the Early Learning Centre, which turned out to be defective. I love ELC and had been impressed by their response: correctly trusting that we were not responsible for the damage and offering a replacement. All we had to do was box up the toy, set a date for it to be picked up and then they’d send us a new one. Of course they weren’t able to give us an exact time, so I had to find a day when I knew someone would be home. Given I am self-employed this is easier than it would be for most, but still, to Indignant Man, a ball-ache of unimaginable proportions.
Of course, once I was stuck inside there were loads of things I absolutely needed to do: go for a run, pick up some groceries, take my daughter to the park, but I didn’t want to miss the collection person, so I stayed in. The hours ticked away, the doorbell rang a few times, but it was the postman or someone inviting me to their church or a bloke who thought I was foolish enough to buy fresh fish from a stranger in a van.
By 7pm I acknowledged that my vigil had been for nothing. I was mildly annoyed, but not in full ineffective Hulk mode just yet. I sent off a stern email.
Their reply transformed me into a whirlwind of self-obsessed wrath: “Having tracked your collection, it indicates that an attempt was made at 15:03, however there was no one available.”
I hit the roof. I know I was in at 15.03. I was in until 4pm when my wife got home. The doorbell was working and I was in earshot if anyone had knocked. The collection driver was either lying or incompetent, but made me look like I was. An insult added to the injury of a wasted day. They’d left me stewing and I was now bubbling and sour.
The specificity of the 15.03 made it somehow more unimpeachable. You’d never make up a time like that. It even had me questioning myself. Had I actually gone out for that one minute or accidentally gone through a wardrobe and ended up in Narnia? Maybe I had.
No! I had been in. I even rang Mr Tumnus to check and he hadn’t seen me all day.
Worst of all I was going to have to go through all this again. At least I have a newspaper column to take my weak-ass revenge. Oh yeah, you’ve got your 15.03 but my side’s in the paper now, so it must be true.
Here are my demands, ELC, you excellent educational toy manufacturer.
1) The death penalty for the mendacious driver
2) From now on it must be LAW that anyone claiming they called when you weren’t in has to take a time-stamped photo of themselves at your door, pressing your doorbell holding a copy of that day’s newspaper.
It’s your move.
The curse of the world’s oldest person has struck again. And now there’s only one person from the 19th Century left. 116-year-old Emma Morano has won the 1800s Hunger Games. Now the competition for the last 20th Century person can begin in earnest. I was born in 1967 so the odds are against me, but if Leicester City can win the league who’s to say I won’t make it to 150? Bring it on.