Walking through the crowded shopping precinct on the way to work, I knew I was in trouble when I spotted a slightly deranged looking old man rushing towards me, waving his finger as if scolding an unknown entity.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!” he shouted.
I tried to pretend I hadn’t seen him, but as soon as he was close enough to start waving his finger in my face, I was forced to stop. My latest trial pair of multifocal lenses immediately zoomed in on a couple of large NHS hearing aids precariously attached to his head, and I was temporarily distracted by wondering what model he had.
“Excuse me,” he shouted, “where’s the fuckin’ television?”
That’s a bit strong for nine in the morning, even in Glasgow, I thought.
“Sorry, where’s the what? ” I enquired, hoping I had misheard, and wondering just how deranged he actually was.
“The fuckin’ television”, he repeated, “The fuckin’ television”. I tried to look blank as I worked out an escape plan, but the television man was persistent. He continued to repeat his question whilst I continued to look blank, but at least the accusatory finger waving had ceased.
All of a sudden, I picked up on an amplified slushy ‘SH’ sound at the end of fuckin’ television and the penny finally dropped in the cookiebite cortex.
“Ah…the television shop”, I said, relieved that he didn’t have an imaginary television which went everywhere with him. “Which one?”
“Which what?” said the man.
“Which television shop” I replied, “…you said you were looking for the television shop?” I left out the fuckin’ for the sake of propriety.
His response was indignant. Perhaps he thought there was something wrong with my ears.
“Ah tellt ye, Hen…Virgin…Ah’m lookin’ fur the Virgin television shop!”
In my defence, the lip shapes of a guttural Glaswegian pronunciation of Virgin (Vuurgin) and the expletive are rather similar…