Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Tissue Seller

It takes a lot for me not to lose it each time I sit outdoors along Tanjong Pagar Road, Club Street or Maxwell Market. No matter whether it's in the day or in the night, there's this one particular tissue-seller who will always appear. Not too elderly, but maybe in his fifties or early sixties. I run into him too often. I can recognize him and he's absolutely annoying.

He doesn't care that we're eating, talking or whatever. He simply shoves the tissue paper in our faces. He doesn't understand "No thank you" when it's said politely and in a soft tone. He lingers. When the "no" is barked, only then he leaves, but gives you this glare like you owe him a living. No matter which tone you adopt, he'll always return to your table twice in five minutes and asks you to buy his packs of tissues. He's the only one out of all tissue sellers in the area to do that.

I'm not buying tissues out of sympathy. How many tissue packs would I end up with daily! And how do I decide to buy from one tissue seller over another? This is a sales transaction. If you want to sell me an item, and I don't want it, I don't want to be harrassed again within five minutes. Beneath my irritation, the first reaction is to wonder what lies beneath his public face. It's hard work pounding the streets day and night. Am cognizant that he leads a harder life than my ultra privileged existence. 

On my next visit to Maxwell Market, sure enough, this tissue seller was there. I was waiting for my lunch companions and didn't feel like engaging. I plugged in earphones and buried my nose in a book. It was a complete 'do not disturb' demeanor. Of course the tissue seller came over. He had the audacity to slot the tissue packs squarely between my face and my book. That's invading my personal space lor. Wtf. I've a few options.

  1. yell at him - look like a douchebag
  2. shriek loudly in distress - look like a crazy woman and a douchebag
  3. ignore him - look like a douchebag

I'm going to be a douchebag anyway. So I picked the option that required least effort. 

I closed the book and stared at him unblinkingly, keeping it neutral. No words uttered, no shake of the head. I just stared. If nothing else has worked, this should. He doesn't look at people in the eye much or hold their gaze long. I think I creeped him out. He stopped mid-sentence and left. He will forever recognize my face.

He has been around. But since then, never approached my table again.


tuti said...

lol. you're mean but he deserves it. some people think they have the right to everything, eg., i had one old man stabbing into my rib with his elbow because i had my ezlink card tapped before him.

imp said...

Haizz. Can't totally blame them either.