Calm waters at Skipton…until it all went horribly wrong.
Scene: Driving around Skipton, Yorkshire – trying to find a parking space. Radio 4 blaring out. We are discussing ‘those pics’ of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi.
Him: Well, they say of course, that Nick Clegg gave a really unprofessional answer. Regardless of the truth of those photos. He shouldn’t have attempted to answer it at all. He’s a senior statesman and should have known better.
Me: Yeah. I would have said – hang on a minute… if you go to Morrisons we can park there for a couple of hours – I would have said, ‘I can’t really comment on this particular situation and I don’t think it’s fair to the people involved and….’
Him: Oh crap! I’ve just taken a wrong turn.
Me: No – no, don’t turn around…if you go down this way you’ll get stuck in the traffic…turn around – go on!
Him: No – I can’t. Oh sod. Hang on, I’ll go the other way.
Me: (back on subject) Yes – it is pretty weird that Nick Clegg tried to go down the path of giving people his overall opinion on domestic violence. And anyway. Why do we call it ‘domestic violence’ if it’s going on in public? That’s just bloody daft that is…Hey! You’ve made the wrong turning again! Honestly! How many times have we been to Skipton? You’re bloody’ useless at directions aren’t you? My dad was right….you’re like a…
Him: (interrupts me) Nyeh Nyeh Nyeh…. (with his best ‘stop nagging me’ voice)
Me: But also and just turn down this road here ’cause that’s the best way to Morrisons – I mean, also if you DID see someone slapping someone else about in public, then surely you would have intervened? Surely people in the restaurant would have commented amongst themselves and someone would have gotten to the newspapers or….here we go. There’s a space just over there.
Him: Well. You’d hope so. But this was Top Notch London wasn’t it? This was Another World away from the likes of you and me…
Me: (correcting him) You and I. And apart from all of that, surely Nick Clegg should have said that it was just … Well. Just Well Chavvy behaviour! I mean – knocking your other half around in public? In the Well Posh Side of London! I mean – those Rich People Of The Establishment sorts should be setting an example for the rest of us plebs….
Him: Sorry but you’re assuming the story that the media are spinning out here…Is this a One Way Street?
Me: No – there would be big blue signs if it was a One Way Street. And – anyway – For God’s sake! The woman looked scared! I don’t care HOW much dosh her parents had, how bloody loaded she is… and how much her husbands has – she looked well upset!
Him: Yeah, fair enough. But photos tell a different story sometimes. Those Charles and Di photos in the Guardian denied that they were about to split up….it was all ‘oh this is just how the media depicts the photos in the tabloids and they are well happy together…’ Oh shit – is this a new mini roundabout?
Me: Yes. You’ve driven here before. What’s the matter with you? We’ve parked here a million times before!
Him: I don’t know. It’s weird when the kids aren’t in the back and killing each other. I’ve lost all normal reference points Is this road next to the canal then? Anyway. All’s I’m not disagreeing with you. It’s a bit tragic. It’s like The Establishment can’t even comfortably talk about abuse – physical abuse or whatever we’re calling it these days.
Me: Well, I’m with you on that one. Just goes to show you how the whole story changes when the affluent are involved….
Him: Yeah. I reckon they’d all be okay to talk about it and have a smooth and really articulate opinion on it if it had happened in your Stalybridge Bismallah on a Saturday night. But not at some posh restaurant amongst the pig-sick rich in Chelsea….
Me: Look, just pack it in being rude about Stalybridge will you? You’ve got room to talk – you’re from Birmingham! And turn LEFT! For God’s Sake!! Turn Left!! What’s the matter with you?!
(We park up in Morrisons’ car park)
Me: Bloody here at last! The car park ticket machine is over there. Do you think you can find your way to it ok without getting lost?
Him: AARGHHHH! I CAN’T COPE WITH THIS ANYMORE!! (lurches over to me and grabs me by the throat – pretending to strangle me.)
(there is a knock at the window. He stops throttling me and winds the window down)
Man Outside: Er…just saw you pull up and wondered if you wanted my car park ticket. Doesn’t expire for a couple of hours y’see…
Him: Oh. Yes. Thanks. That would be really nice. Thanks!
Me: Awwww… That’s lovely of you! Thanks so much! That’s really sweet!
Him: Wow. Just goes to show you…..that bloke didn’t bat an eyelid at us having a massive domestic!
Me: He just felt sorry for you because you’re crap at directions. And anyway. You can’t have a ‘domestic’ in a Fiat Panda. There isn’t the room.
* Note to reader – Of course, we then nearly wet our respective car seats with laughter. Huge irony and Huge Silliness. But as always…. an important point.
As a person who works alongside people who have suffered terribly as a result of violence in the home – this little sketch by no means wants to make light of the whole issue. Rather, it aims to emphasise the ‘Niceness’ – that infamous ‘Politeness’ of the British…
1. Was the Oh-So Nice man who wanted to give us free parking really ignoring the fact that he had seen some kind of bizarre ‘throttling/choking’ motion upon a wee blonde lady in the passenger seat? Was he simply Far Too Polite To Comment?
2. Or was he a Nick Griffin Sort? (Ha-ha – throttling your wife is So Hillarious!)
3. Or was he ‘fast’ enough to see that we were Having a Larf?
Looking back on the entire Skit / Reality Dialogue – Option number 1 worries me the most. Yes I was laughing (me and the other half both were.) It was bizarre, surreal in the extreme. But both of us were left wondering this…
At what point do ANY of us feel comfortable with saying to a total stranger who seems to be involved in some kind of assault or even crazy-wrestle – ‘Hey- all okay there?’…