Thursday, 3 January 2013

Pretending not to hear shit…or taking shit out of context (Amm! He just SWORE!!!)

In movies and TV shows, when two people have a ding-dong and one refuses to listen to the other, or misinterprets what they’re saying, then they are either shown the error of their ways or later suffer because of it (e.g. someone insisting their partner “never loved me” despite the roses, hard labour and sticking around despite the other party being a complete bitch/ bastard…will result in the one who “doesn’t quite get it” being shown as a cloth eared tit or getting their comeuppance later on).

The reason is that we the audience KNOW that the way they’re behaving is ludicrous as they are; through ignorance, malice or stupidity not hearing what is being said and drawing their own conclusions. The script cannot cope with someone not pointing this out to them or fate intervening in their behaviour because we, the viewers behind the 4th wall know it, so it has to be recognised somehow.

In real life however this phenomenon goes on all the time and people do it with nauseating regularity.

On a very basic level there is the word with more than one definition misunderstanding. In this one someone will purposely take the most damning designation of something that was said and hurl it back at the sayer. The classic from my childhood was “it’s NOT alright!” This one was utilised by parents or teachers or sometimes women who couldn’t sustain a cogent argument and just resorted to verbal bludgeoning techniques.

E.g. During a heated “debate” the child or husband would hold up their hands in a conciliatory gesture and say “alright, alright!” To anyone with an IQ over 85, it is clear this means “I concede the point.” However spiteful twats would immediately snap back “IT’S NOT ALRIGHT!” Deliberately taking the interpretation that the person thought everything was just Jim-Dandy O and use this to stoke the fires of their temper.

Another that I heard as I got older was “you’re right, I’m NOT listening to you!” This strategic weapon would be deployed when two people were arguing and one was trying to communicate that the other was misunderstanding their point. However the other would purposely take the stance that their opponent was using the verb “listening” in its literal sense.

Another tool in the box was  “I should think you’re NOT fucking complaining! I do enough for you as it is!!!” This little beauty was if the enemy had said “look, I’m not complaining” in an attempt to convey that they just wanted to be listened to and their grievance was not down to a lack of gratitude. However whichever cunt they were arguing with would purposely take the view that the verb “complaining” had been served dripping with hot sarcasm.

More sinister than this was when the one being beaten down by the warhammer of infantile vitriol, came up with something that COULDN’T be taken out of context, such as “I agree with you” or “I think you’re right.” Their opposite number was angry and wanted to continue to be so. As a result, either of those two phrases would be completely ignored and the ranting would simply carry on as if nothing had been said. Sooner or later the person would inadvertently tread on the landmines of “not complaining” or “not listening to me” at which point full hearing would then be restored and “I should think you’re NOT fucking complaining…” would be shrieked.

Some time ago I was bumped off a British Airways flight to London from Mexico due to engine failure. After queuing for 3 hours I got a replacement flight via Texas to London the next day. Turns out you need an Esta visa to even set foot in the US, even if you don’t go past passport control, which I couldn’t get in 6 hours, so I had to be rerouted again. The delay plus the faffing about were fucking awful and uncomfortable. A few days later when I phoned customer services I got some insipid little cunt who listened to what I had to say about being booked onto a flight I couldn’t actually take and then said in a patronising tone.

“It is the passenger’s responsibility to check if a visa is necessary.”

After a pause I took a deep breath and pointed out that I hadn’t chosen the flight, it had been GIVEN to me to replace the flight that didn’t even need a visa that I couldn’t take due to engine failure. I added that I’d waited in a queue for 180 minutes, that it was nearly midnight by the time I got sorted out. That I had been sweaty, anxious, upset and tired. After another pause the little bitch repeated:

“It is the passenger’s responsibility to check if a visa is necessary.”

She was purposely invoking this trope, to try and block me from having any cause to complain about being mucked about as legally and per regulations it IS the passenger’s responsibility to check if they need a visa, but NOT in this situation. By blinkering herself to the whole truth she could smugly repeat that sentence parrot fashion because while it was UNFAIR it was to the letter of the law.

(This bitch’s name is Susan and her operator ID is 4U…ironically. If anyone reading this knows her, please tell her I hope her tits turn black and fall off).

The worst possible example of Taking Shit Out Of Context occurred with a couple I knew some years back in the north of England. Shane was a quiet guy, albeit over 6 feet tall and fairly broad. His girlfriend Mavis was 5 feet 3 inches of ginger haired rage. One day she was berating him for something and he looked at me and went:

“That’s like the devil blaming God for evil!”

Predictably, instead of seeing the analogy for what it was, Mavis invoked the “Arrogant Male” clause and said (after going “OOoooOOOoooo”):

“See Lance, Shane thinks he’s a God!”

Later on when she was drinking heavily and physically attacking him in front of other people and he STILL stuck around she would lament to me that he didn’t love her. When I pointed out that he blatantly DID love her she thought for a moment then said:

“He doesn’t you see. What he does is very clever. You can’t see it but he plays the nice guy and doesn’t hit me back, so that when we finally split up everyone will see him as the victim and me as the evil one. He can’t make friends easily, I mean you’ve seen that. He just wants to keep me around so he’ll always have someone to talk to.”

However, some people are just blatantly dense and really DON’T get the point. I remember seeing a 15 year old boy trying to explain the definition of anarchy to his middle aged, primary school teacher mother. She had asked in a patronising tone “so you think it’s alright for people to go in each others houses and take each others property do you?” He then spent about 15 minutes patiently explaining the concept of anarchy and how, as no one owns anything then all property is theft and no one is stealing. Everything belongs to everyone. After sitting there nodding and making the occasional grunt she waited until about 30 seconds after he’d finished and simply repeated:

“So you think it’s alright for people to go in each others houses and take each others property do you?”

I’ll leave you with this exchange I had on the London Underground, in early 2005.

(Black guy with a collection bucket gets on at Charing Cross): “Ladies and gentlemen, sorry to disturb you but I’m collecting for the Tsunami appeal. I’m sure you’ve heard about this, it’s all for a good cause. If you could….”

(A member of TFL staff get on behind him, smirking): “Come on off you get, I told you you can’t collect on the train!”

(Collecting guy goes to leave, I stand in the doorway and shout to the staff guy): “You could have let it go mate.”

Staff member: “What?”

Me: “I said you could have let it go mate. He’s not doing anyone any harm!”

Staff member (still smirking): “We don’t allow collections on the trains sir, we’ve had our own collection for the Tsunami…”


(The driver has overheard this and had climbed out his cab and walked up to me): “Now, there’s no need for that attitude!”

Me: “What?!! Hundreds of thousands of people dead and…”

Driver: “How do you know he’s genuine?”

Me: “He’s wearing identification!”

Driver: “You could make that in your bedroom!”

(Collecting guy takes a piece of paper out his pocket and unfolds it and offers it to the driver): “Sir, this piece of paper proves I’m genuine, it’s from the mission I work for if you’d like to see it.”

(Driver ignores him and says to me again): “He could have made that ID badge in his bedroom.”

(Collecting guy tries in vain to get the driver to look at the paper, driver looks at me once more, ignores the other man then walks back to his cab).

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