When I look back on my life, the one thing I know for sure is that wanting an apology can sometimes land you in jail.
I recall the first time it happened. I was on my way home from kickboxing, so naturally I was starving. Anyway, as I was walking I happened on this new, small choctique* and couldn’t quite resist the intoxicating smell that was wafting through. I had often heard that they stored unusual chocolates and sweets, so with unwavering curiosity and damp gym clothes, I walked in and demanded to know what the scrumptious smell was and whether I could get some.
Of course, being a typical choctique, the lady whisked me away immediately claiming I would taint the “treasurable clothes”. So with her smoke stained teeth and harsh breath she pushed me out aggressively while slamming the door behind me. I don’t know how you would react, but one thing you must know is that no one slams a door on me – especially when I’m hungry.
So me being me, I marched right back in and began educating the lady in a perhaps more than loud voice on proper etiquette. Now, what you must understand is that I am a spitter when I yell. I don’t care if I do it, let alone where it lands. Which is why as soon as she saw the first drop of fury leave my mouth she tried to whisk me away. Of course I just assumed she just didn’t want the confrontation which made me even more determined – I wasn’t going to budge. She had insulted me and no matter how hard she pushed I stayed firm.
My monologue went for quite a while and after 5 minutes she could see that I wasn’t going to go easily, so instead of apologising like she should have, she threatened me with security.
I’ll admit I’m not too proud of what happened next, but I stand firm that had she apologised none of this would have happened.
She called security and I could see her smug face light up. So with my quick wit and determined stance, I opened my bottle of water and carefully hovered it over a beautiful suit – everyone froze.
Of course I knew I wasn’t going to do any damage – the bottle was empty – but they didn’t know that.
“Now, now M’am” quivered the sales assistant “There’s no need to get the suit involved. It hasn’t done anything wrong so please do step away.”
I had done it. I could tell she was getting nervous and I was slightly proud that I had made her quiver.
“If you would please step away from the suit, we can resolve this whole matter very quickly and painlessly. Please, just don’t damage the suit!”
It was all very surreal. I had woken up a teacher and was now a criminal negotiating terms in a choctique.
All I wanted was an apology – how hard would that have been?
I know, I know, I could’ve stopped it all then and there: packed up my bottle, walked away and none of it would’ve happened. However as I stood there holding my empty bottle of water, I was blinded by this newfound power. I could make these people do anything – anything! They were my puppets – so I did.
I tilted my water bottle just that little bit more towards the suit – that did it.
“MADAME PLEASE! I’M SORRY OK, I AM SORRY. I should never have slammed the door on you in such a rude manner. Now please leave us alone!” shrieked the sales assistant. I did feel bad, I could see the dark vein in her neck pop out with each word. I’m pretty sure I had definitely caused some type of breathing problem too – her face was undoubtedly stark beetroot with a hue of blue.
“Thank you” I said. Done. I had gotten my apology and hadn’t damaged anything in the process. That should’ve been the end right?
Drunken with power I proceeded with “However…” her face fell “I am incredibly hurt and require a bigger apology. I would like you to give me a block of chocolate – no, make that 3 blocks of chocolate, a cup of your infamous green tea and for you to tell me what that lovely smell is. Then and only then will I leave.”
I could see her squeaky wheels turning. She was thinking of a way to get out of this but she couldn’t. After much deliberation with security and turning all shades of purple she succumbed to my demands – almost.
For varying reasons (mostly them thinking of me as a psycho) they had closed the shop, so I was left waiting for my goodies. As you can imagine my arm was beginning to hurt and I wanted to rest – so I did. I placed my water bottle on the the shelf above the suit. As I did, she came back into the room with my chocolate.
“Where’s my green tea?” I asked.
With darting eyes she alerted me to the fact that due to water being incredibly damaging to the clothes, it was store policy to not store water in the store – she even had to cross the street just to wash her hands after using the bathroom.
As she was placing the basket on the ground, she accidentally let it drop down too hard and my bottle fell to the ground.
That did it. I could tell my horror was mirrored in her face but hers quickly turned to one of triumph whereas mine was total loss. I knew there was nothing else I could do but run so I bolted for the door.
I felt the handle and as I began to turn it, I was jerked backwards by the security. They had come back and were not going to let me go anywhere.
However, if there’s anything you’ve learned from me is that I don’t go down easily.
As he dragged me up I managed to get a clear gap and hit his ribs.
I turned around and kicked him right in the stomach. That should do it. I then ran back to the door but the meddling sales assistant sealed it and I couldn’t get out. So I ran to the back.
Wretched woman! She had locked the back door too!
My mind was reeling and I overthought how much trouble I was going to get in. I wasn’t thinking properly. The situation had forced me to go into survival mode and so I did.
I searched high and low and just as I was about to break a window A small sign caught my eye. It read ‘In case of emergency inclusive of floods, earthquakes, sinkholes and fires, automated doors will open.’
I ran to the sales assistant desk, searching and searching until I found it – just as I suspected, she had left it on her chocolate biscuits. I then ran to the storeroom and dragged the ladder to the middle of the store. With all my strength, sweat and tears I climbed the ladder and flicked the front of the lighter back, exposing the naked flame.
With careful precision I put the flame under the sprinklers.
I knew the police were close, I could hear the sirens, but if I could just get the doors open – WET!
The sprinklers went off and and the door unbolted – it opened and I ran for the light. I ran as fast as I could.
“GET OUT OF THE WAY” I yelled. Miss Sales assistant was standing in front of the door petrified. “GET OUT OF THE WAY” I repeated. She was stuck. She wasn’t moving so I knocked her down.
Only after the police had removed me from the premises did I realise why she hadn’t gotten out of the way. In my desperation to unlock the door I had forgotten the number one choctique rule: never let the clothes come into contact with water.
I had destroyed more than a lifetime’s worth of clothes and she had seen it all unfold with her eyes.
For obvious reasons I was taken into custody and spent 3 nights in jail – it was the worst time of my life. I spent those nights alone, cold and yelling apologies to anyone who could be bothered listening.
Once I was let out I had to have a meeting with the owner of the store and after realising I wasn’t that much of a loon she decided that community service would suffice as punishment – thank God! I spent the next 2 and half years paying for my crime and when I was done I vowed that I would never let my pride get in the way.
Sometimes, it’s just best to let things go.
*Choctique: A store/boutique that stocks clothes made out of a material only cleanable by chocolate – water stains them.