Monday, November 23, 2009

Knowledge November - Day 24 - Old Bag Aspirations



















I was talking with Sapphire's best friend Juliet's mother, Tracy, about the challenges and joys of living in a small, densely-populated inner city suburb and the resultant layers of cultures, litter, noise, fun, friendliness, drunkenness and planning problems it entails.

She shared with me her recent bravery in telling off an insolent seventeen year old boy for stealing mail and littering. As she was walking home from the shops she spied a young dropkick yank out a letter that was sticking out of a mailbox, rip it up and scatter it along the street to the general mocking laughter of the five other dropkicks with him.

Tracy did what - as we've both since recognised later - a few of us 'forty something' women are starting to do: she went all Angry Old Bag on him. She bolted across the road, jabbed her finger at his chest and told him to pick up the mail and put it in the bin or she'd report him for mail fraud and littering.

He of course said, "Make me" and folded his arms insolently across his chest as his buddies looked on, but he severely underestimated the power of the Angry Old Bag. Tracy had undergone some training with the FBI in the US some three children, a PhD and two countries ago and was able to rattle off enough legal gobbledegook to convince the Acne-ed Arse that she could arrest him on the spot and perhaps even whip a taser out of her Green Enviro Shopping Bag to press home her point. He sullenly snatched up the papers, put them in the bin and stalked off, with his mates laughing at him instead of Tracy.

"I'm too old for them to be interested in ogling, yet young enough to take them on," she said.

Fiona, another mother at the party drop off, nodded and said, "Yeah, I want to be an Angry Old Bag too," and recounted her 84 year old neighbour giving the auctioneer across the road a real mouthful when he refused to take bids in one-thousand-dollar increments, preventing a young couple from joining the buyers.

"Soon, she had the crowd giving the auctioneer a slow clap and he backed down," she said admiringly.

Regular readers of Blurb from the Burbs will know that I've already recognised the Angry Old Bag emerging from inside me and am starting to actively cultivate her. After all, once you find that first chin hair......










In the past month alone, I've:

* Told off five teenagers for throwing Red Rooster cartoons on the footpath. They put them in the bin when Milly the dog trotted over insisting on making friends and receiving some pats. The kids have sat in the same spot each lunch time and not littered again since.

* Said, 'Could those jeans be any lower on you?' to a boy on the way to school. He ignored me, but seeing as I walk past him every day I have noticed that he's not worn those particular trousers since then.

* Butted in a conversation on public transport. Three people were talking about their housing commission flat in Footscray. "Of course, it's 'Spot the Aussie' where we are, with all the African refugees and that." I leaned in and said, "And that's a good thing, isn't it?" and shocked them into nodding. Glumly of course, but at least it wasn't telling me to enjoy sex elsewhere or starting an racist punch-up on the number 57 tram...

* Snobbed off 'Schnauzer Woman' who decided that she did know me after all, especially when she'd just overheard our local councillor (a fellow parent at the school) talking about a grant I'd won for a litter project

* Helped a lady in a motorised scooter fill up her plastic bags in the fruit and veg section of Safeway (those green capsicums are a bugger to reach); and

* Discussed with other budding Angry Old Bags just how cool we think it is that 82 year old Peter Cundall, recently of 'Gardening Australia' fame and regard had been arrested outside Tasmania's Parliament House for refusing police instructions to move away from the steps as he joined protesters in calling for Royal Commission in the approval of Gunns Ltd's proposed Bell Bay pulp mill in the state's north.



















I hope at 82 that I'm still able to get fired up enough about something to slip on my homeypeds and tracksuit and bound out of the house to join in the fight.

11 comments:

Ariel said...

Go you! Yes, I plan to be an Angry Old Bag too. Hopefully a couple more years will give me the courage to buttonhole more teenagers without fearing a beating ...

Baino said...

Absolutely! Whilst having breakfast during the typical Melbourne downpour last Sunday we actually listed our bugbears and what we were going to do about them. Low pants and litterers, racists and bigots were high on the menu! I might not make 82 though so should probably speed up the old baggery.

Lorna Lilo said...

Long live the A.O.B. I've been in training for some time. I've become a frequent writer of complaint letters which I believe is the first subject for an AOB qualification and am hoping to work my way through next term's poor service disputes and correcting news readers poor pronunciation of place names. E.g. the Sunday Morning tv program host who was unable to pronounce the name Vancouver and called it "Vancouvier".

redcap said...

I I'm just a passive aggressive angry old bag. I snort and roll my eyes so much I could qualify for a walk-on role in Where the Wild Things Are...

River said...

I'd like to be an Angry Old Bag, but I'm a bit of a chicken...
I do admire Peter Cundall though, and I also help the oldies in their scooters at the checkout, I'll walk around and put their bags in the bag hanging off the back of the scooter, if they have a trolley, I'll load the bags in there for them. One of my oldest customers is over 90 and I hope I'm still able to shop for myself when I'm that old. But I just can't see myself taking on young ratbags about...well, anything really.

Kath Lockett said...

Ariel if you're still too young and spunky then the teenagers aren't going to stand for it. Wait until your first chin hair emerges, then it's time (after you madly pluck it out first).

Baino, that's the PERFECT kind of conversation to have, well done!

Lorna, yes, the angry letter - have a couple to write myself this week. You're on your way!

Redcap, eye rolling will one day change to audible 'tut tutting' and then, eventually, a tongue lashing and you'll LOVE the freedom it gives you. Trust me.

River you're not an angry old bag, just kind. :)

yukrh said...

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Margo said...

Good on you for butting in on those racists!

I've been talking about how awesome Peter Cundall is to anyone that will listen, hope I can continue the fight when I'm an A.O.B too ;)

Lidian said...

I am looking forward to being an Angry Old Bag, I really am!

At the moment am just a Cranky Middle Aged Bag.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Good for you! Keep it up!

I prefer "Grumpy Old Man" to "Angry Old Bag" but the sentiment's the same.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Kath Lockett said...

Er, thanks Yukrh - couldn't have said it better myself

Margo, Peter Cundall ROCKS! "And that's your bloomin' lot for the week"

Lidian, time is on your side. One day you too will move from being a Cranky Middle-Aged Old Bag to a much neater-sounded title of Angry Old Bag.

PlasMan, we need Grumpy Old Men too - especially if they stand on their front porches and shake their fists at 'those meddling kids' of today....