Wednesday 26 April 2023

Whose Street? MY Street!

I had a bit of a disagreeable experience at work today. I was walking a dog, one who belongs to a man who is very old and disabled. This dog likes to walk a particular route and a part of it is along a cul-de-sac. We walk up it and then back down it, which is of course all you can do in a cul-de-sac. We have done this numerous times over the past couple of years. Today a white van pulled over beside us, the driver stuck his head out and he said: "Oi, stop letting your dog piss in my garden!" I said: "I never have." He said: "Yes you have! You let your dog piss on my hedge! You do it every day!" Dogs have a habit of stopping every so often to deposit a few drops of urine at various locations, usually on a spot above the ground. This is to leave a scent trail. It's an instinct left over from pre-domestication. The patches of urine function as a pathway through woods or fields where there are no landmarks. It can also come from a desire to mark a location as their territory. When walking dogs I am always very careful not to let them urine mark in anybody's property. I again denied that I had done it this time. The man pointed to a hedge which was badly overgrown. It jutted out a good ten inches to a foot from the wall at the front of his home. I replied: "That's not your garden, it's a public highway." He answered in a raised voice: "It's my fuckin' hedge, you fuckin' idiot!" I shouted: "Don't swear at me! And it's not your property beyond your wall; it's a public highway!" He drove off, screeching his tyres. The "white van man" is a bit of a cliche. It means an independent skilled tradesman like a builder, electrician or plumber, usually self-employed, who has a tendency to be arrogant and a road hog. They drive in unmarked medium-sized windowless white vans. I think he hurled abuse at me because he knew I had just proven him wrong; which is what most people do in that situation. I think he simply objected to me walking the dog up and down his road, which is a cul-de-sac and so is normally only used for access. However there is no law preventing anybody walking up and down a cul-de-sac if they choose, so long as they do not stray onto any of the private gardens. That man regards the road as the residents' private property even though it isn't, just because it's a cul-de-sac. If the government passed a law restricting a citizen's freedom on the public highways, he would probably support it. This is the most common method for introducing state authoritarianism; present it to the people in wrapping paper that appeals to their petty irrational whims.
On the whole, today has been a major New World Order day. After work I went grocery shopping at a local supermarket. This supermarket has the usual auto-tills, which are all card only; when the old ones used to have slots for putting in cash. There are some human tills next to them, two card only and two cash or card; but none of them were manned. I put my shopping on one of them and waited; nothing happened. I then went over to one of the staff, a tall African youth, and told him: "Could somebody come and serve me at this till please? I need to pay with cash." He looked at me nonplussed, as if he didn't understand me; and then he turned away and began talking to his colleague in their own vernacular. I shrugged and returned to where I'd left my shopping, but after one more minute of being ignored I said: "To hell with this!" and walked out of the store, leaving my basket of shopping where I'd left it. I've also noticed that margarine now has the words "plant based" on all the packets. Why? Isn't that obvious? Everybody knows marge is made from plants. Welcome to the proposed future, right in the heart of the fifteen minute paradise of Oxford! You vil drive ze white van und pay with ze card und you vil be happy.


Anonymous said...
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Snarnok said...

I recommend that you have a listen to 'White Van Man' by The Bonzo Dog Band, if you still have the mp3 I sent you.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, Snarnok. I'll play it on the show. Send it over.