November 22, 2008
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The other day I was wandering the stalls of the St James's Church Market off Piccadilly. I had to duck out of the way of a man pushing a buggy, wearing nothing more cosy on his upper body than a vest of the wifebeater variety. Brrr. Pausing briefly to look at some necklaces, I heard the stallholder mutter something as he polished up a wooden thingummy.
Stallholder: …mentally retarded…
Stallholder: Must be mentally retarded that bloke.
Stallholder: It's the only explanation.
Me: Er, sorry?
Stallholder: Out here looking like that. Just a vest.
Me: Oh yes, I saw him. I bet he's cold.
Stallholder: It's disgusting. I wouldn't go out looking like that.
Me: Ahhhm. Well, maybe he just got off a plane from somewhere colder and this is warm for him.
Stallholder: No, I see him around all the time. I wouldn't look like that at home in front of my kids. [His polishing becomes more vigorous, his face is starting to twist]
Stallholder: He's out here in front of his kids, dressed like that, it's shocking.
Me: [Starting to edge away] …
Stallholder: Disgusting, I tell you. What an example. Out in public like that. He can't be right in the head. [Polish, polish, polish]
Me: [Rabbit in headlights expression] Ahm. [Tight smile, making my escape]