The Sour Old Lady Syndrome

Today, Stockholm, walking with M. We stop to smell some nice purple flowers that the city has put out in big concrete bowls just beside the Royal Castle. M. bends over and starts looking in her bag for her wallet, and I keep smelling.

An old lady appears behind us and stares. I glance up, and go back to smelling. M. keeps looking in her bag. Then the old lady says, out of the blue – “You’re not allowed to take the flowers!” She gives us a sour look and totters away.

Now, a normal person would stare after her, shake their head and go on with their lives. I, however, am not a normal person. I shouted after her “Excuse me? What did you say?” a few times, incensed that this walking bag of bones and spite could assume for one second that we were about to steal a stupid flower.

When she ignored my shouting and kept moving away, I followed her. I stepped in front of her, stopped her and said “I think you should apologise to me. We were not planning to steal any stupid flowers. M. was just looking in her bag.”

She looked at me a bit funny, and I repeated that she should apologise to me. So she mumbled “alright then” and kept going. “Alright then” does not strike me as a sincere apology, but I guess it had to do.

I am not sure what was most annoying about this: that she thought she was some kind of flower police; or that she assumed we were young scallywags out to steal anything that wasn’t nailed down; or that she was completely incapable of apologising for being an idiot. But one thing is sure: if I see her again, I’ll sneak up behind and fill her pockets with condoms.

/ paddy

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