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jjc
03-Mar-04, 23:53
Somebody came up to me in the street today and asked me for directions. It reminded me of a long-forgotten incident in Glasgow a few years back and Iíve been feeling guilty all afternoon and evening. Therefore, in a selfish attempt to stave off further self abasement, here is my confession:

I was in Glasgow on a tour of some of Scotlandís universities with the High School. It was only my second time in the city, the first being a family holiday when I was about ten, and so it was all a new experience to me. We were given a leaflet by the school before we left Thurso with some advice on how to behave in the city and I was trying to stick to it (not waving what little cash I had around, not making eye contact with anybody in the street, trying not to look too much like a tourist, that sort of thing), so I was perturbed by just how often I was being singled out by people approaching our group trying to sell the Big Issue or inquiring as to my change situation.

At the beginning of the day Iíd responded politely to each and every one of them. Iíd bought the first copy of the Big Issue Iíd been offered and had apologised to every person who I had (genuinely) been unable to give any change to.

By about lunchtime Iíd stopped answering and, to my shame, was now walking past with my head down, pretending I hadnít heard them. This was the tactic employed by my school friends and none of them seemed to be being pestered at all. It didnít work for me.

By dinnertime I was thoroughly fed up. I genuinely didnít have any change and Iíd already bought a copy of the Big Issue. Why couldnít they just leave me alone? We were, for reasons that escape me (I donít remember seeing a film), standing outside the cinema on Sauchiehall Street when I realised that word had obviously gotten out that I was some kind of soft touch and now every beggar and Big Issue seller in Glasgow was hunting me down. I decided to be tough with the next one and put a stop to it.

That was when I noticed somebody hovering about in my peripheral vision. As I started to look up they mumbled something. I snapped. I turned and said something along the lines of, ďFor Godís sake, leave me alone. I havenít got any change!Ē and I stormed off.

Iíd taken about a dozen steps before my brain caught up with my mouth and managed to process just what it was that the guy had asked. Far from asking for money, he had actually asked me for the time. I glanced back over my shoulder and saw him still standing there with a very miserable look on his face, no doubt caused by a combination of his date for the cinema being late and having just been mistaken for a beggar.

I was too embarrassed (for both of us) to go back and apologise so, if you were ever rudely brushed aside when asking a kid with glasses for the time about ten years ago, I apologiseÖ sorry! :(

Öand itís 22:44

webmannie
04-Mar-04, 01:44
Was he being an ass or giving the answer that most of us would have given?

Answers on a postcard. (or here on the msg board if you wish)