Me: “You know, a bowl cut? That wee boy from About A Boy? Not like that. More like… More like Tracey-Anne from Camera Obscura? Do you know what I mean?”
Tony: “Oh! Yeah! I cut her hair!”
“I know Haghill quite well. But I don’t really know Summerston. Well, I’ve never been tae this particular street in Summerston. I’ve been to Invershiel Road. And Broughton Road. And roon the back there. But I’ve never been tae this bit. It’s funny. Ye widnae believe the number ae foxes A see at night roon here. Hunners ae them. Aboot 30 a night, A’d say. Y’know – urban foxes are nocturnal but rural foxes come oot in the daytime as well. A watched a programme aboot them wance. City foxes huv an evolved jaw line. They look different fae rural foxes. Y’know -cos ae the food they eat. A bet the city foxes’ll eat any’hin’. A don’t agree wi’ the Japanese oan much, but A think we should eat whale. A’m wi’ them oan that. It’s the sheep A feel sorry fir. We don’t even see whales – so how no’ eat them? We see sheep aw the time. A’ve eaten crocodile. An’ shark. A quite liked shark, actually. You’ll probably no’ like this – but A’ve eaten guinea pig aswell. Quite dry. A’m away tae Korea next year. A’ve no’ decided if A’ll try dog yet. A might. But A’ve no’ decided yet. A don’t understand how we don’t just eat horse meat in this country. A’m oan a diet at the minute actually. A’ve been tryin’ (t)ae cut doon. A get a couple ae Weetabix and a yoghurt fir ma breakfast ‘n’ then A hiv a sandwich ‘n’ a banana fir ma lunch ‘n’ that’s me. Well, it’s two sandwiches really. Next week, believe it or no’, A’m cutting doon even MARE. A’ll only be hivvin’ the wan sandwich fir lunch. Wi’ a banana. A went oan holiday no’ tha’ long ago and we wir stayin’ in a hotel that put oan a buffet breakfast. Y’know – a cooked buffet breakfast. I’m no’ really intae a cooked breakfast, but A ate it right enough. That’s enough to put ye aff but. A couldnae enjoy the cooked buffet breakfast cos aw A wiz thinkin’ aboot wiz the trip tae the toilet that wid follow. A’m eating ma hash browns and just worrying aboot huvin’ tae sit oan that toilet pan for 15 minutes. And ye UR – sittin’ there… fir 15 minutes… ‘n’ it can be quite, quite painful. Ye hiv tae think whit that kind ae food diz tae yer boady. It’s no’ worth it, is it? Ur you fae Maryhill yersel’?”
“Ur you over 42?”
“Nope. I’m 32. But thanks for that. As someone who’s ID-ed for cigarettes on a weekly basis, that’s quite refreshing”.
“Oh. Sorry hen. Sorry aboot that. I couldnae really see yer face when ye got in the cab. Sorry aboot that. I just wondered that if ye were fae Maryhill and ye WUR over 42, we might know some ae the same people but the age gap’s too big. You’ll no’ know the same people as me. Whit school did you go tae?”
“I went to St Mary’s Primary and then to John Paul Academy”.
“I went tae a Catholic school. A don’t think we should teach religion in schools. A’m an aethiest. That Sister Margaret. She was a total bastard. She used tae drive round the streets in her car oan a Sunday and send ye hame if she caught ye playin’ fitbaw. Sunday’s were fir church – ‘n’ fir church only. Old bastard. A hope she’s rotting in hell. No’ that A believe in hell. Cos A’m an aetheist. A think it a disgrace in this day and age that we have Catholic schools. An’ Margaret Thatcher. She’s a bastard anaw. The damage that wummin’s done tae this country. A have tae admit it, that see when she dies, A think A’ll be celebrating. Proper partyin’. What a bastard she is. She deserves to go tae hell anaw. For everything she’s done? Tae Scotland in particular? Aye, it’ll be changed days roon here, hen eh? I bet you’ve seen some sights roon here? It’s no’ too bad noo though eh? Aye. Thatcher’ll no huv helped roon here”.
“It’s number 23, please – just there. By the lamp post on your left”.
“That’s £11.40 hen”.
“If you take the £12, that’s grand.”
“See ye later hen”.
*Slams door then runs away*
I get to the bus stop, having just missed the bus. I’m going to be late for work. Already my face is crumpled up and I’ve only been outside for 4 minutes. 15 minutes later, the bus shows up. I pay the bus driver £1.80. He gives me a 90p fare. I make a huffy noise at him, roll my eyes and plod off. I sit down. I’m stuck behind a lady with dirty hair, beside a man wearing too much fake tan, within eye-shot of a very stylish old woman and infront of a wee boy who’s riding the bus with his mother.
By the time I got off the bus in town, I’d laughed, I’d cried, I’d laughed so hard I cried.
Small Boy: “Mum, are we going to the toy shop? Can I get a robot? Mum, if you met an alien would you shake his hand? Or would you run away?”
Mum: “We can maybe go to the toy shop later.”
Small Boy: “Can I get a Tranformer? One that turns into a truck? One of the expensive ones?”
Mum: “I hope it’s not expensive. Do you play with the other one you got?”
Small Boy: “Yes”.
Mum: “Are you sure?”
Small Boy: “Yes. I play with it all day, all day, all day, all day”.
Mum: ” Are you sure?”
Small Boy: “Granny moved the toy box closer to the couch. Am I going to after-school care tomorrow?”
Mum: “No. I don’t think so. Why did granny move your toy box?”
Small Boy: “If a bad guy tries to take me away, I’ll just say, “No! No, no, no”. Won’t I, mum?”
Mum: “Yes. That’s right. You just say, “No. I don’t think so.”"
Small Boy: “And if the bad guy tries to hold my hand…”
Mum: “You bite his hand as hard as you can and then you run away.”
Small Boy: “I’ll bite his hand? As hard as I can? I’ll bite his hand as hard as I can and then I’ll tell a policeman. Should I tell a policeman, Mum? If I see one?”
Mum: “Yes. You run away and you tell a policeman”.
Small Boy: “When I tell the policeman, the bad guy will run away”.
Mum: “The policeman will chase him and catch him and put him in prison”.
Small Boy: “What is prison for?”
Mum: “It’s for bad guys.”
Small Boy: “Are there cages in prison?”
Small Boy: “How many cages are in there?”
Mum: “Too many. There are too many bad guys in this world.”
Small Boy: “And too many good guys?”
Small Boy: “The man that was shouting. Was he a bad guy? Why do they do those kinds of things?”
Mum: “Because they have problems.”
Small Boy: “Can you tell God anything, Mum?”
Mum: “If you like.”
Small Boy: “Can you say a bad word to God?”
Mum: ” You don’t say a bad word to anyone.”
Small Boy: “Can God see me?”
Mum: “I’m not sure about that one.”
Small Boy: “Do you believe in God?”
Small Boy: “You believe in him sometimes but then sometimes you don’t believe in him?”
Small Boy: “God won’t be happy with you , Mum.”
Mum: “Did your Granny tell you that?”
Small Boy: “Mum, what do you do in your uni?”
Mum: “I study.”
Small Boy: “And what do you do in the gym?”
Mum: “I exercise”.
Small Boy: “Are you going to the gym now?”
Mum: “No. I’m not going to the gym now.”
Small Boy: “Why not?”
Mum: “Because of the baby. I’m too tired”.
Small Boy: “Is it because the baby won’t get a good sleep?”
Small Boy: “Will the baby be very angry with you? Because you’re moving this way and then moving that way?”
Small Boy: “Mum, will the baby fit in your mouth? Who’s going to take me to school tomorrow?”
Small Boy: “When I’m a girl, I’m going to have a baby”.
Mum: “You are a boy. Boys don’t have babies. Only girls have babies.”
Small Boy: “No. Only boys have babies. Mum, I think I can feel my tooth moving”.