I am thinking of a man called Jim who lived in Bath before he threw himself into the river a couple of years ago. He had become sick and tired of repeating the same old petty chores day after day in his effort to stay alive.
Jim was the sort of bloke who would vent his frustrations by swearing at pigeons and taxis, and although he gave the impression of being mentally ill, he really was not. In the pub he was courteous enough. Not to be so would have dried up the supply of tobacco given to him by several regulars who knew that he was always on the very edge of destitution. I was once sitting on a bench outside another pub when he walked past me without acknowledgement. I asked him where he was off to and he answered without looking up, "Mind your own fucking business'.
I was standing in an aisle of Waitrose the other day, staring at the array of olive oils and trying to decide which was the least expensive by comparing prices to volume. In the end it made no difference, so I bought a couple of tablespoons for £1.80. I had forgotten to buy the excellent Spanish extra virgin olive oil from Lidl, and I was forced to get some from the outrageously expensive rip-off merchants who pretend that their company is owned by their shareholder 'partners' who no longer receive any dividends. In reality, Waitrose's prime function is to keep John Lewis afloat at any cost. The situation has not been helped by Boris's refusal to have his apartment furnished using their goods. I would never had heard of Lulu Lytle if it were not for Boris's long-term fiancé.
Example: Two free-range chicken breasts from Lidl, £3.40. Two free-range chicken breasts from Waitrose, £9.90. This is not an uncommon price difference, and Waitrose prices rise daily.
So anyway, I was staring at the olive oils with mounting resentment in my breast and - thinking I was completely alone in the long aisle - said the word 'cunts' quite loudly several times before picking up the little bottle.
Just then I heard a freezer door slam behind me and looked round to see the back of a friend who would normally stop and have a chat, walking swiftly away in the hope he would not be recognised.
I must have seemed like Jim to him then and I don't think it will help if I try to explain my behaviour by saying that I thought I was alone. A couple of months ago he created a handyman's job for me in his house because he knew I needed it. He is a good man who thinks I am beginning to crack under the strain. Perhaps I am.