Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Prickly Heat

Another hot day dawns, suffocating and still. When I step outside, it feels like a thick grey sock creeps over me and the air is undulating and heavy.

Eleven o'clock sees a steady stream of shoppers heading along Langlands Road. It's the summer holidays so there are a few fractious weans dragging along behind mums and grannies. Two young women cut out of Rosneath Street and walk alongside me for a bit. One is pushing a wheelchair with wheeltrims of bright orange. Sitting in it is a tiny little girl of 8 or 9, sickly but pretty, with lovely ringlets in her hair caught up in a ribbon.
The other woman is bleach blonde, sharp featured with a haunted look, she is speaking in a loud whine.
"Whi' d'they 'hink ah um? Sendin twin'y folk up? Whit's a tha' aboot? They mus' 'hink ah'm gonnae murder thim."
Her friend stares straight ahead, tight-lipped and nodding, pushing the little wheelchair along.
The other laughs harshly, "Aye, ah says, ah'll social work ye . . ."
Her voice harps on and fades as they pass me.

"It's awfy close, Isa," says one elderly woman to another as they meet, "Aye, we're needin' the rain."

At the entrance to the Govan Shopping Centre, one man is telling a story to a group of rough and ready types, chaps who have maybe been guests of Her Majesty at one time or another. One fella sits astride a bike and he wheels back to let me pass, tips his head and smiles. The storyteller is shouting exasperatedly, "An' how're ye suppost tae see who yer assailant is if thir's nae cameras?"

Inside the shopping centre it's a little cooler. I walk around the corner and come face to face with a young lady selling "cheaper" electricity supplies. She is dressed in a smart black trouser suit and white shirt, her long blonde hair is tied in a high ponytail and she clutches a clipboard with a pen at the ready.
"Hello mum," she greets me.
I hardly realise it's me she is addressing before she continues,
"You look as if you'd like to save yourself a few pounds!"

My eyes widen almost to the point of popping and I feel myself draw up, indignant, cheeks burning, ready to retaliate . . . but suddenly the humour of her comment hits me. I let out a scornful laugh and at the same time wonder just how forlorn I am looking today.

1 comment:

Lady Harriet said...

what? i don't get it?