Popeye and Flagman

Yesterday I went to the Ale Wagon for a meeting about the aftermath of the Scottish referendum.  Jan was going, and I thought it promised to be interesting: however it reneged somewhat on that promise almost as quickly as the British government reneged on its Devo Max promises.  Of which more anon…

The evening was actually somewhat farcical.  First, I turned up at the pub without my glasses and nobody was there.  I only need my glasses for reading, so I could see quite well that the pub was empty; however, I couldn’t see to check the text message I’d got from Jan and confirm the place and time.  I went up to a bloke at the bus stop.  ‘Can you read this for me?’ I said, explaining that my specs were at home on the night-stand.  He read it.  Ale Wagon at 7.30.  While he was reading it, two more texts came from Jan.  The first said Help! and the second said, Meeting upstairs.  Still pondering over why she needed help, I thanked the bloke, collected a half of Hob and made my way upstairs.

Oh dear.  I’d been expecting the usual suspects: some liberal Guardian-reading types, some more down-to-earth socialists and a few nay-sayers.  No such thing: there was an odd assortment of blokes, one of whom had a completely shaven head and who sat draped in a Union Jack.  This did not bode well.

They had a speaker, who was fine; but when the debate began the trouble started.  It was clear that there were some who loved the sound of their own voices – that’s usually the case, but you need a chair who is prepared to shut people up.  This one just let them carry on until they’d run out of steam.  Well; we went around the room, everyone making their speeches or asking their questions; Jan naturally being the most impassioned and the most coherent.  I made a few points, most of which I’ve already made on here, so I won’t sport with your patience by repeating them.  Then it came to the man in the flag.  He’d clearly been gearing himself up throughout the session, and now he was off.  Like a coiled spring he bounded into the air, jabbing his finger to emphasise his points.  It was a rant, and much of it was offensive.  After a few minutes I was reaching the limit of my patience; and when he’d spoken for three times as long as anyone else I could stand no more.  I appealed to the chair to stop him: the chair refused (‘let him have his say’); Jan weighed in on my side, and finally as the guy was still talking we decided to leave.  But no sooner had we got downstairs than one person after another came to apologise for the bloke in the flag; including the flag-bound guy himself, who proceeded to explain exactly why he’d said what he’d said and effectively launching into another rant.  Like Popeye I thought: that’s all I can stands: I can’t stands no more – and I made my way to the other end of the bar, where the barman was also complaining about flagman.  Apparently he goes there every month and he has no manners.

In the end Jan came to join me and we had a chat, but not before two more people had come down to apologise.  I wondered whether we were the first women they’d ever had there and they realised they’d blown it…

Kirk out

 

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