Isn’t it terrifying how the cost of living is skyrocketing, isn’t it depressing how crime is getting worse and worse, isn’t it shocking how much corruption there is in government… But what can you do?
It’s the ain’t it awful game, and what can you do isn’t a question, it’s a statement. Take the question mark away, shrug your shoulders, let your voice drop on the do, and you’ve got it.
It’s part II of the Primo Victim Mission Statement. Part I of course being ain’t it awful. Is this just a peculiarly South African thing, or does it happen everywhere? There’s almost a smugness about it. Eugh.
I was in a local supermarket. Trying to decide what to have for dinner. Engaged in a debate with myself as to whether I should buy potatoes or not, I sensed a presence somewhere behind me. Man presence. I prolonged the internal potato debate for as long as I could concentrate, which wasn’t very long at all, as my heartbeat went into overdrive. Hmm. Doesn’t do that very often these days, alas.
Pretty soon I abandoned all thoughts of potatoes and dinner altogether as a far more entertaining image rose in my mind of an impromptu humorous conversation with the man whose presence was intruding on my awareness. Just like in the movies. The man who I hadn’t even looked at. Amazing how much can flash through your mind in a split second.
But then a tricky thing happened: my mind went blank. I felt suddenly bashful. Shy of somebody I hadn’t even met? Hadn’t even seen, actually. There I was standing fumbling with a plastic bag, and wanting to look at the face which belonged to the presence. Not to mention the body. Had to do something. So I did the only thing a girl could do. I put some distance in. I moved over to the broccoli. And casually looked around.
I nearly fell into the broccoli box. By that time he was fumbling with the potatoes, so I casually moved back to them, trying to think of something to say. Usually words are the one thing that don’t let me down, usually I have so many of them that I’m hard put to choose which ones to select, but this time?
Nothing. Nada. So much for an entertaining, humorous conversation. So much for the movies. Frozen in time I hoped for the floor to open up so that I could sink through to China. Then he came up with the most original line I’ve ever heard in my life. You wouldn’t want to take some of these potatoes home with you, would you?
I dared myself to look him in the eye. Still nothing witty came to mind. You’d think I’d at least be able to say nope with just the right kind of detached, sophisticated humor, but forget it. So casting wit aside, I said the only thing a girl could say. I said plain no. No humor, no smile, no nothing, may the gods forgive me.
Meanwhile I’m thinking Yes! Yes! Yes!