Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Close Encounters of the Weird Kind...

Yesterday I thought up a new group of posts to appear here on my blog.

As I've said before I attract loons and this doesn't just extend to friends but to brief encounters out and about on the streets of Edinburgh. Being out with your kids causes interaction with all sorts of people. On a day to day basis your average solitary adult wandering around will not encounter anyone who will talk to you spontaneously for no apparent reason. Parents have a completely different experience. When your child is born, suddenly you are the proud owner of a little person and other parents with little people assume that this shared life choice/interest/situation creates some sort of common ground on which to base a two hour long conversation about the colour of your baby's poo or how many teeth they have, or cures for cracked nipples. While I am partial to a bit of playground banter there are some out there, out there in the dangerous world of play parks and soft play places who are odd balls. So naturally being a magnet for odd balls, they seek me out.

Sometimes I forget about these experiences, shrugging them off instantly and moving on with my day but sometimes something happens that sticks. Take yesterday for example:

I took Miss B to the playground. We wandered around the Meadows in the sunshine yesterday and I decided to venture into the playground there. It is a place fraught with Yummy's, Hipster parents, Rich Hippies and so socially is a bit of a minefield for a normal parent. I've worked out that usually you are safe if you stick by your kids side and look intensely interested in the bit of twig that they've found. Yesterday my phone rang as B played in the sandpit and I made the mistake of letting her wander away from me, while I took the call, to the other side of the pit and this meant that I was standing out with the usually safe 50ft radius. As I hung up, I began to sweat as I realised I was no longer safe and so started to walk around the pit to the side where B was sitting picking wood chippings out of her sand. I had literally walked two paces when I was approached by a well dressed European couple in their late 30's brandishing two snotty bored looking kids.

"Hi!" they waved.
"Shit!" I thought.
"Hi..." I replied.
"We used to have a buggy like that" pointing at my Phil and Teds buggy.
"Really?..." I said.
"And...?" I thought.
"Yeah, it was stolen!" they replied nodding at each other.
"Really?" I said, adopting the appropriate shocked and saddened look. "Was it left in a communal stairwell?" I asked.
"Yes" they replied "it was quite like your one".
"Really?" I reiterated. "Was it an explorer too? Such a shame, they're great buggies and expensive too!"
The wife/partner/whatever then replied "Oh, it was another model I think" and the husband/partner/whatever started walking around me and the buggy examining the vehicle.
Puzzled by his interest I remarked that this was a new model, like the one that they had but now with a one-handed folding action. "Hmm..." he said, continuing to walk around the buggy looking at the chassis.
They exchanged a look.
That was when I knew something was up. I realised that the man was circling the boggy, not looking at it. "Where exactly did you get your buggy from?" asked the man. I could've replied ToysRus straight away but I stupidly replied "why do you ask?"

And then it came...then they said what I had just this second realised what their investigation was about..."We think you've got our stolen buggy" they chorused.

I could feel my face getting redder and redder. What was I supposed to do in this situation? I'd never been accused of anything like this before. Where I was brought up, if you said this to someone you'd get your teeth handed to you! Where I come from, there is more of a possibility of driving a stolen buggy though!

In my politest tones, I uttered "You are very much mistaken, I bought this buggy from a shop and I very much doubt that ToysRus are dealing in stolen goods now, DON'T YOU? (Alright, this part came out a little louder than I'd imagined in my head). My attempt at polite English coming off more threatening than I'd intended.

They picked their kids up, promptly ran away.

Miss B and I had fought off their accusations!

                                               I'm Queen of the sandpit!!

But this wasn't the end of it.

The rain started so B and I sought refuge in the nearest deli where we ordered a cheeky chocolate brownie and a large latte (for me) to recover from our run-in with the couple. No sooner had I sat down, did I spot the same couple sitting at the next table. I glared at them. There was no way they were going to spoil my coffee too. The man approached my table.

"Shit!" I thought.
"We're sorry" he said whilst looking suitably embarrassed by the encounter.
"Hmm..." I thought. It was bold of them to apologise and I appreciated it. "It's okay!" I laugh and adopt a forgiving tone "Everyone makes mistakes!" Little did I know he was about to make another...

"It's just that you're Scottish and have quite an accent. They only people we've ever heard with an accent like that are the drunk criminal types who hang around the City Centre" he says.

I could feel my face getting redder and redder...


  1. Oh my goodness! That's shocking! You were very restrained under the circumstances...

  2. That is shocking! I would like to imagibe myself kicking him in the cock in the same situation. But I would probably cry and run away.

  3. Why oh why would you approach someone in a playground and accuse them of stealing your buggy ???

    Wonder if you could report them for harrasment ???


  4. Given you guy's reactions, I guess I should have been angrier! I'm so used to weirdos now that it takes me a while to really think "whoa!!!".

    It does only happen to me though! Xx


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