Thursday, March 29, 2007

When the nutter goes in the pub, does he sit next to you? He always sits next to me, oh yes.

Last week, my friend and I were early for the inaugural meeting of Duck Balancers Utd, and as she hadn't seen my local since the refurbishment we decided to drop in for a couple of fizzy pops to fortify ourselves for the journey into Ealing.
While we were chatting about her recent trip to Pakistan to meet some friends, a bloke walked in and upon seeing us, bowed and smiled at us. I carefully avoided eye contact and he carried on to the bar in the next 'room'.
Alas, he came back after a few minutes and smiled before asking if we'd mind him joining us, as he was there for a brief pint before going to a meeting and was hoping to pass the time in pleasant company, and the bar staff had not been particularly welcoming to him. I put that down to the fact that being Polish, their english isn't quite up to speed when it comes to conversations in 'nutter-talk'.
My friend didn't seem too bothered and I explained that we'd be heading off as soon as we'd finished our drinks too, and so he sat down and began to talk.
He told us that he was here for a visit as he moved from Hanwell to Devon five years previously, and when my friend asked why he moved, he gestured at a gang of boys outside and said 'Scum like that, mainly'.
'Fair nuff' I thought, I didn't know the boys but there are a lot of gangs that go around causing grief, so I didn't ask for reason as to why.
He carried on talking about how Hanwell had gone downhill in recent years, again I couldn't contradict, but then he said something that stunned both my friend and me.
"The main trouble is" he said in a loud voice, "Is that it's all Poles and Pakis round here now!"
My friend didn't seem to be able to find any words, so I explained to him that many of my friends were Polish, and that she had many friends from Pakistan, and had just returned from visiting them before pointing out that terms like that are offensive to many people.
"Yeah, but it's true though, all you get round here are Poles and Pakis, and it's not good"
My friend managed to talk then, and asked him why he was being offensive to us.
He said that he wasn't being offensive to us, we of course were English and white, and therefore we shouldn't be afraid to call people as we see them.
You can imagine what I was calling him in my head at this point, can't you?
I asked him if he called Germans 'Krauts' to which he replied "Of course I do, you should hear what they call me when I go to their country"
I said I could imagine, and good for them, as seeing as he'd just offended me, I was thinking of some choice names to call him.
Again he said that he had not offended me, after all I was English and white, and we should all stop being so liberal-minded, and scared about saying what we think about others.
I kept my temper and explained that I was half German, and I did not like being referred to as a kraut, one iota. An ex of mine who had many black friends, and kept calling Germans krauts until I asked him one day if when next I met his mates, could I say the words 'nigger' and 'coon' in front of them? He said 'Of course you can't! That's really offensive!' to which I replied that that was how I felt when he called me a kraut. He got the message.
However, this nutter didn't.
He started listing off all the names he used for foreigners, such as 'Wop', 'Spick', 'Chinky' and so, but didn't mention the N and C words, so I asked why he wouldn't call a black person a coon.
"Well the thing is" he said, "Is that there's much more chance of getting beaten up or shot if you call them names"
I was so very tempted to say there was an incredibly strong chance of him getting beaten up by a kraut if he carried on, but instead I got up and said it was time to leave. How I kept from having a go at him, I don't know, but I have plans should I see him in there again, oh yes.
First I tell my friends behind the bar what he called them, then I go and find 'Mad John', who coincidentally is black, and deserving of his moniker, and say 'Hey, that bloke over there called you a nigger'.
I rather miss the cabaret that was the Saturday night riot at my local, so it should be fun.
Oh yes indeedy.