The other day I was meeting George and I was running late because I had spent far too long in my little sister’s shop looking at pretty clothes that I couldn’t afford to buy but bought anyway.
So I’m walking briskly down Chapel St and I’m at the corner of Chaps and High, happily dragging on some sweet, sweet nicotine and waiting for the lights to change when a man approaches me and asks if he can roll himself a cigarette when we get to the other side.
Well no, I say, I’m afraid I’m in a bit of a hurry.
He looks a bit taken aback at my refusal and says, come on man, it’ll only take 3 minutes.
At this point I think to myself, 3 minutes? are you serious? You suck at rolling cigarettes you stupid wannabe roller wanker, I can roll a cigarette in under 20 seconds while walking and a strong wind is blowing and it’s raining and I’m toting an inside out umbrella and I know this because I’ve been TIMED and that’s not even my PB and you’re telling me to hover on the other side of the street while I wait as you dip your grubby who knows where they’ve been fingers in my tobacco for three whole minutes?
But I smile politely, and say, no, look, I’m really sorry, but indeed I am in a big hurry and really have to bolt down this street as soon as the lights change.
He then puts his hand on my shoulder. I barely repress a shudder. In fact I don’t repress it at all and shudder quite obviously. He says, with what I think he believes to be a winning smile, that he would really appreciate it.
I remove his hand and tell him, again politely, that I’m afraid I can’t oblige.
The lights are still red.
It’s at this point I realise how hard it is to look like you’re in a hurry when you’re standing still. So I try to overcompensate with lots of heavy sighing, obsessive pedestrian light button pushing, clicking of my tongue, and shifting my weight from leg to leg and looking, no doubt, like someone who really, really needed to wee and this whole time this man is staring at me with a sulky look on his face.
I’ve realised that if I was a non-smoker, scabby people bothering me would be cut down by half. I would still be accosted by junkies asking for 50c so they can get back to their kids in Frankston though.