I think I better write this out simply as a form of catharsis. A few days ago at the park cafe, I was sitting drinking coffee with the guys when one of their various dogs leapt up onto the table and started licking it. That struck me as very unhygienic – people have to eat off those tables, after all – so I started shouting at the mutt to get it off. Instead of getting the dog off the table, though, one of my cafe friends, who I’d rather not name, turned to me and sternly said ‘No!’ as if I was the one at fault for shouting at the dog. The tone of her voice was that of a teacher telling a young child off, and to be honest it really pissed me off.
In fact it made me quite furious, both at the fact that she didn’t care the dog was on the table, and at the fact she assumed she had the authority to speak to me that way. I’m a thirty-five year old man with a master’s degree, not a five year old; and I had a perfect right to object to the dog being allowed to behave like that. Perhaps she didn’t mean to speak to me that way, but it felt like I was being spoken to like a child, and it made my blood boil. I flew into one of my rages. It was just a short, simple ‘No.’ but it felt endowed with an unearned authority which I found infuriating: the past few months have been very hard ones for me for various reasons, and the last thing I need is to be awarded less respect than a fucking dog.