Not a wargaming post, sorry. Please feel free to “jog on” as it were, if that’s what you were looking for. It’s a sort of soft rant I suppose. There’s going to be some bad language, politics and occasional scenes of nudity…
Only joking about the nudity by the way. Soz.
A couple of weeks ago I named this missive “Wish you weren’t here” but I deleted it without posting it. Several days back it became “Disquiet on the western front” only to meet a similar fate. I’ve resurrected it today partly because the victim support officer called this morning and partly because the matter has been bothering me and it might help put things into perspective by jotting it down. Hell it may even give you a laugh!
Since Brexit I’ve lost a lot of “friends”. Actually all of them come to think of it. Mr Cameron’s folly revealed a lot of fundamentally irreconcilable differences between us that I don’t think we even knew were there. In the run up to that dreadful vote a lid was lifted on Britain, exposing a hot mess of incoherent ignorance and prejudice. Naively I assumed it was an “English” thing but I was wrong…it’s here in West Wales as well.
In the height of the summer the wife and I toddled into our small market town to do some shopping. We have a blue badge because of my wife’s spinal tumour. The place was full of staycationers and as usual none of the disabled car parking spots were available - though many of the cars in them had no right to be there. We drove around for a while and I will admit I became increasingly annoyed by the situation. Finally at the top of the hill by the castle I found a disabled parking spot with the occupant busily unloading crates of milk from a flat bed truck. I wound down the window and I asked him if he were disabled.
“I’m unloading this milk - boy”, he said.
“I didn’t ask what you were f**king doing,” I replied tartly. “I asked if you were disabled.” (I know I know, not helpful - but hey who was in the wrong here?) It should be noted at this point that my Brummie accent always comes to the fore when I’m angry and it was probably this that became the trigger for what followed.
With English tourists and Welsh shopkeepers looking on in amazement the milkman went off on one - or “lost his sh*t” as I believe young people say.
|Go on google it. I’ll wait.|
“If you don’t like it, you can f**k off back to England boy…” he shouted advancing on the car with his fists bunched.
I got out to meet him as he continued with a snappy “why don’t you f*ck off back to where you came from.”
With a sudden jolt of realisation I recognised him as my neighbours milkman! Two blokes blocked his path so now all I could do was shout back, “It’ll only take me 5 minutes you daft twat… I frigging well live here.”
It was also at this point that I realised I’d become the victim of what is known in modern parlance as a “hate crime”. I know, I know, but think about it for a moment. Okay I’m white middle class and retired…but how would his comments have looked if I’d been black or Asian, or whatever, and he’d told me to go back to where I came from. Was I any less sinned against?
Being single handedly responsible for a half mile tail back at this point, I drove off and finally located an unoccupied space. The missus made me have an ice cream so I could calm down. I mulled the matter over whilst my 99 (yeah with a flake and sprinkles!) melted slowly over my hand.
Should I drive back down the road and dot the bugger on the nose - “old Skool” - or should I go all “woke” and seek redress another way? The man had, by any googled definition, just been responsible for a hate crime, something the Welsh government apparently was determined to take very seriously.
Ten minutes later I reported the incident to the police. I could sense their disbelief over the phone. Whatever the Welsh governments stance on the matter, things always run differently this far west. I assured my wife the issue would be swiftly kicked into the long grass and that I’d probably have to do the same to the milkman if I wanted any satisfaction. It wouldn’t be hard given he’d be delivering milk to next door the following morning!
I got a phone call from a bemused officer as soon as I got home. It was a new one on him he said, but he was mandated to deal with it as a serious matter. What did I want him to do? I wanted a written apology I said, keen to up the anti as it were. “And if Gerwyn the milkman,” (for tis he) “will not oblige?” he enquired. “I’ll be pressing charges,” I said, suddenly coming over all litigious.
Police cars were apparently despatched / dispatched? (guidance please) flecky stab vests donned and words of great import imparted. Gerwyn was all contrition. The next morning I was the proud owner of a very effusive letter of apology.
Did it change anything? Probably not. If the bloke really does hate the English then making him grovel in a letter won’t improve matters one jot. Probably make it worse truth be told.
Can you ever win in these situations? “Are haters always gonna hate?” as our American cousins might say?
My Welsh language course is now on semi permanent hold - and I’m once again looking wistfully back at France. Should we consider a return? Is it worth trying to fit in somewhere when you suspect you’re actually not wanted?
Of course with time I’ll be able to laugh this single incident off, rationalise it in some way. It’s already becoming just another one of my stories as I write. It makes me wonder though how others less fortunate than I and perhaps more obviously different than those around them cope with open prejudice day in day out.
There’s that old saying about walking a mile in another mans shoes…which up to now I’ve always found funny. I mean…the stupid buggers never going to get his shoes back after giving you a mile head start now is he?
Something to mull over maybe and by tomorrow undoubted proof that one should never post while more than a little foxed. Lol.