Monday this week was a day for rage. I didn't get the memo so I wasn't particularly rageous myself, but I saw the results in public places.
At the large intersection beside Tower Hill there are a lot of pedestrians, all wearing serious faces and coats as they trudge into the City for another day's grind. It has quite short light phasing; road traffic is heavy and moving in a number of directions. To cross from Tower Bridge to the Tower Hill tube station, you need to cross the road three times. The light phasing also means that there usually a significant wait between pedestrian crossing #1 and pedestrian crossing #2. On occasion, traffic gets so backed up people block the box in any number of directions on this intersection (this generally gives me rage as a driver, but at Tower Hill it's often hard to judge whether traffic is moving through, so I have a modicum of sympathy for those who enter the intersection early).
We had a wait for crossing #2 on Monday morning. I stood, unevenly balanced on the grimy yet fluorescent yellow anti-slip dots, next to a woman in her mid to late 20s. She was blonde, slight, well dressed. Wearing sensible shoes for commuting and carrying a large bag. Completely standard for a City worker headed in to work. When the green man showed, there was a medium sized truck with a partially open back blocking the second lane across the crossing. The City girl struck out into the intersection ahead of me and swerved to walk around the back of the truck. I followed, with several others.
Without warning, she whacked the tailgate of the truck. A huge thunk, followed by an exasperated exhalation.
It was a deliberate hit; of that I've no doubt. It came completely out of nowhere. I tried to imagine how tough her morning must have been to hit a truck (whose driver clearly wasn't going to have heard or felt it) that made her walk, oh I don't know, an EXTRA FOUR OR FIVE STEPS.
I stopped at the Sainsbury's Local on the way home to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I'd walked home in fantasy-land, mulling over mental interest calculations on a hypothetical mortgage obtained with a deposit I don't have (fuck my fantasies are BORING. Where is Viggo fucking Mortensen? I wasn’t even spending the hypothetical winnings from Euromillions, how sad is that?!), and I entered the supermarket in a bit of a sum-induced daze.
I was finding the pre-packed salad selection in the back corner of the market a bit trying while I browsed for beetroot (I'm sorry, but WHY on earth does Sainsbury's use so much plastic packaging for fruit and veg in the Local stores?), when I was hit a glancing blow from behind. I suddenly registered raised voices and turned around. I'd been hit by a man in a trenchcoat emitting a foul odour as he darted for the store exit, followed by a staff member. Beside me, in the Chicken section, was another trenchcoated man frantically pulling packages of chicken out of a giant bag and back onto the shelf. He was yelling "I'm not shoplifting!" on repeat while another staff member had him by the arm.
Suddenly, there were two staff members manhandling the guy into the back storeroom. They were laughing, which I found beyond disturbing. The shoplifter (for clearly that had been his intent, that much was apparent from the speedy departure of his companion and the opaque bag into which had been stuffed approx. 12 large packages of chicken thighs) was clearly pissed.* He was carrying a visible layer of grime on his person and while defensive, didn't appear to be too much of a threat. I looked around; unsure what to do. This was home time for the be-suited bespectacled types - there were a number of men much larger than I watching proceedings.
The three men disappeared out the back. I feel a sense of unease about the manhandling. It wasn't too over the top, but the laughter was very unsettling. I'm still unsure what I should have said, or done.
*I mean pissed in the sense of drunk. Boozled. He had an open can of White Ace cider in hand.