Iain Graham writes:
This is a true story. It may not be a particularly relevant story - but it is a true story.
I think I've just realised that I have to be serious about my new career as a Grumpy Old Man (GOM) and come to terms with the fact it is not new, just a natural progression from so many years as a Grumpy Young Man (GYM)!
Why is it that the world seems full of people (most of whom sport high-viz jackets) telling me to do the bloody obvious?
Take the latest example of a) The Nanny State or b) people with nothing better to do or c) interfering mindless numpties just doing what they are told to do!!
I recently attended a trade exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham for 5 days (yes, my feet do really ache and that, to be honest, possibly contributed to my frame of mind).
Picture, if you will, I arrived at Car Park S7 to find it half empty and plenty of spaces. It took no less than 5 people (of indeterminate gender) in the aforementioned jackets, to guide me safely into a gap between two parallel white lines without damaging anything or anybody else or even frightening a passing horse!
I smiled, waved and moved on.
Having survived this, upon leaving my vehicle, I mindlessly and thoughtlessly ignored the Zebra crossing and set off to cross a completely empty and deserted road. How dare I!? I was sent back, (high-viz positively glowing with indignation now) and referred to a sign specially put up for rebels like me, and told to “utilise the available ‘safe crossing’ area” (probably the word ‘zebra’ is not very PC and an insult to albino striped donkeys!!)
I gritted my teeth, said nothing and moved on.
(I then got on the wrong bus to the hall and ended up further from my stand than where I left the bloody car! This I will admit was totally my fault and I mention it to merely show my state of mind!)
Upon finally arriving in the foyer, I decided to purchase a cup of coffee from Costa Coffee (other brands are available) to take to my stand. I queued to place my order and then joined the queue to receive my beverage, giving me lots of time to work out that I could actually have purchased three jars of Nescafe for the same price!
That is when the ‘straw breaking the camels back' moment occurred!
The young lady behind the counter was struggling to put the customary plastic lid on the cardboard cup. I said, “please not to worry, as I don’t like drinking out of a baby’s training cup, so please no lid, thank you”. She would have none of that and insisted on the placement of the lid, referring to “ealth and safety”! That did it! I explained that I was 58 years old, had held a senior position in a major corporate account, was now a sales director for a company, managed still to get up in the morning unaided, wash myself and put my shoes on the correct feet and find my way to work! Therefore I could be trusted to carry a cup of coffee without endangering my, or anybody else’s life!! She looked at me, and without further comment, passed the drink to me and retired gracefully, if somewhat chastened!
(She didn’t deserve this, but I felt better!!)