Monday, November 20, 2006

Middle-Aged Men

A middle-aged colleague paying 10p to get a drink out of the vending machine that isn’t standard tea or coffee. Standard tea and coffee is free. His selection is made but the drink fails to fire into the cup properly. He pulls out the plastic cup, a look of disgust on his face as he surveys the brown sludge lodged to the bottom. He strolls with indignity around the whole office showing all he encounters the inside of the cup. “And I paid 10p” he says repeatedly. “Not on.” some reply. “Go get the money back off the bastards” says the one who has never smiled. And with that, a man who got nothing for his 10p storms off to find “the bastards“. And we may never see him again.

The middle aged man who put petrol in his Diesel Car. A sudden letting go of the pump trigger and he stares down, eyes pushing as hard as they can out of inadequate sockets. “Shit!” And then two desperate looks around: The first to see if there’s anything he can do to rectify this terrible mistake. The second when he realises there isn’t, to locate anything around that he can immediately lay the blame on and kick. There isn’t, all he can do is sit on the step and thump his fat legs.

A middle aged man sitting against Tesco Metro eyes on the cracks in the pavement. Asks me for change as I walk past. I look away and mutter something to ease my guilt whilst not parting with a penny. ‘Anything’ he calls after me, ‘10p?’

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