Alison Hairdesser arrived upset. On her way she had pulled over to let a Landrover through. They both had their windows open, and the driver had shouted "wanker" at her as he passed. It seemed undeserved, and I suggested that perhaps he had said, "Thank yer," or even that he might have been German and said "Danke," but she said he had a leering expression on his face that made his meaning unambiguous. As it happens many 4x4 drivers around here have a leering expression. It may be inbreeding or a side effect of squinting down gun-sights at barely flight-worthy corn-fed pheasants, so the jury is still out in my book.
I told her a friend of mine had been driving along a lane, minding his own business, when a driver coming the other way leaned out of his window and yelled "Pig" at him. Puzzling at what he had done to deserve the insult, he rounded the next bend and ran one over. (Alison said she didn't understand. Was I suggesting that her Landrover driver had been trying to warn her of an approaching hazard?)
Undeserved, gratuitous insults have a disproportionately unsettling effect. I've never forgotten an exchange in the entrance to the Victorian Shopping Arcade in Inverness. A stranger and I did that avoidance dance in which you each move in the same direction, and when we'd sorted ourselves out I said "Sorry" unnecessarily in the way that politeness dictates, and he replied, "You will be". If you read this, Inverness person, or even if you don't, may your cloutie dumplings shrivel.
Manners can be a burden. I seem to have spent a significant proportion of my life holding the door open at Woolworth's while an endless stream of people walk through without even looking at me, let alone thanking me. And elderly ladies, assuming me to be a shop employee, regularly ask where the rubber gloves are. I've given up explaining that I don't work there, because they don't believe me. It's easier just to show them. Unless they ask rudely, in which case I send them next door to Ann Summers.