16 April 2011


So I was standing in the lunch queue minding my own business, when suddenly...
Crash! I am showered in orange juice as the short, miserable looking guy in front of me drops his tray, scattering its contents which seem to be mainly glasses of juice, over me, the counter and the floor. The pretty girl behind the till looks initially shocked and then quickly hands him a cloth to begin mopping up the mess. He says nothing, just looks on non-plussed.

He takes the cloth with a look that clearly expresses his dissatisfaction at having to clean up his own fuckin mess and he makes a half- hearted attempt to mop up some of the juice, while I bend down and pick up the scattered but not broken glasses for him. He says nothing, in fact he does not even acknowledge that I exist or that his incompetance has just resulted in me getting soaked.

So the girl mops the counter and I somehow end up mopping the floor with a large wade of paper which she has handed to me while he ineffectually rubs some kitchen paper across his tray. Then without looking at either of us he wanders off back into the queue, pushes some people out the way and gets himself a new lunch. The girl and I continue to mop up his mess from the floor and then the counter.

He returns himself to the front of queue, still without even establishing eye contact, pays for his food before wandering off to find a table. He never apologized to the girl or to me, in fact at no point did he even acknowledge that either of us existed, as we first suffered his clumsiness and then cleaned up his mess.

What a utter twat! I feel a strong urge to follow up and punch his sullen face, or at least ask him how he feels that it is socially acceptable to be so fuckin rude. 

This is sadly typical of a certain breed of middle aged Norwegians, almost always male, who skillfully manage to combine smug aloofness with an introverted arrogance in a way that is so exasperatingly rude. Most Norwegians are not at all like this but there is a minority who are so monumentally crass and socially incompetent that it has become a stereotype.

If most people had dropped that tray we would have been rushing around, smiling awkwardly, cleaning up and apologizing profusely. The people around would have been glad to help and would have felt sorry for someone who was so clearly embarrassed. It takes real effort to absolutely ignore all the people around you, especially when you have significantly inconvenienced them. 

No comments: