Yesterday was one of those days. Maybe I got out of bed on the wrong side. Maybe other people did too.
You know how in the mornings, you don’t really know what mood you’re in until you come into contact with other people? This is more obvious in my life, being quite solitary as it is. I’m sure if you live with other people you have the chance to find out your mood fairly early and possibly correct it over the breakfast table.
Anyway, I woke up at 11.15am, and had to get a move on, as I needed to go to the vet with Billy because he needed an injection to stop a cut on his neck getting infected. They close at noon on Wednesdays.
So I scurry around getting ready, leave my flat, say hello to a neighbour on the stairs, and get to the front door of the building.
I open the door, and there are three people stood at the entrance. One has his back to me, and is blocking my exit.
I repeat it, but with more urgency (and, I imagine, frustration) in my voice. I walk past them, and as I got a few feet away, they make ‘oooh’ noises (just like Vic Reeves with the handbag in Shooting Stars). From nowhere, my temper rockets. I turn ’round and start ranting at them in English.
Rant over, finger given, I begin walking away again. Then one says something in a snidey voice and they all laugh; the rage floods back, and I return to the scene.
They all look posh; you know that ‘look’ that some well-off upper class people have (not all of them, I must add, just some), that confidence in the eyes and the slight sneer of the mouth gained from years of being assured that they are better than the other people – well, they looked like that; floppy haircuts, good skin, fancy sweaters with shirt collars, etc. Odd really, they looked English even though they were German.
So I’m back there ranting again, using the basest parts of my vocabulary on them. Two of them were wearing Barbour-green knee-length trousers and similarly coloured knee-length socks. My rant finishes with “… and your stupid fucking trousers.” I start to leave again, and one says, “Hey, are you intolerant?”
“Are you intolerant?”
A mixture of more bad language and reasoned argument comes out of my mouth; basically explaining that there’s a different between intolerance and making fun of someone’s stupid trousers. A final flourish of F-words, and I depart for the veterinary surgery, muttering under my breath like a crazy person.
Of course, this is how I view the exchanges. Maybe they saw it differently. Maybe, in a bar later that night with their fellow braying poshos, the story was thus: Jesus, this is funny; we were hanging outside this building, and this scruffy beardo weirdo comes out, and just starts going mental at us.
Later in the day I ordered a pizza. The guy was 40 minutes late. He offered no apology for his tardiness. He didn’t say hello or, indeed, anything as he approached my front door. And, most horrifically, he had that über-tan that made his skin the colour of cigarette filters. As you’re probably well aware from previous rants about the service industry in Berlin, I wasn’t particularly shocked, rather slightly saddened that this fellow who, admittedly, has a shitty job doesn’t at least make a tiny half-hearted effort to behave like a human. It continues: rather than removing the pizza from his insulated satchel, he just opens the flap and thrusts it forward to me, so I should remove the pizza myself.
I paid and remained steely strong to my principle of not tipping bad service, even though that principle usually wilts when faced with the moment of truth. His orange head scowled as I stood there, hand extends waiting to receive my change, which, in his tiny retaliation, came to me slowly and as assortment of five euros-worth of 50 and 20 cent coins. Little did he know that that was good for me, as I’ve got a couple of bags of laundry to do today, and need as much change as possible for the machines.
I do wonder though, if – like the monkeys and the typewriters and Shakespeare – if one day, everyone in the world might be in a bad mood at the same time. All the teachers, students, postmen, bus drivers, office workers, CEOs, policemen, sailors, and presidents of the world; all getting out of bed feeling grumpy. What kind of day would that be?