Close encounter of the Numpty Kind

You know that feeling. It comes upon you in the morning. Brushing your teeth, or just boiling the kettle, it appears out of nowhere. I was always taught that my feelings were rubbish.
“Dad, we’re going to have a visitor today.”
Was met with “Yes dear, now eat your breakfast.”
What if that feeling, that intuition was natural and that we all had the ability to have those feelings all the time, but years of being told, “Don’t be bloody stupid,” had knocked it out of us. What if being psychic was the norm and we were all suppressed and formed an ignorant barrier to things we knew where about to happen. After all I trusted my Grandmothers big toe on her left foot. It was always right about the snow coming.

On Wednesday, I had that feeling, and I was right. To be honest I had the feeling for several days but I just knew the circumstances were right for the feeling to tell me exactly what was about to happen.

Mr Numpty, no not Dumpty, he had a great fall and couldn’t be put back together again, no this guy was Mr Numpty, he was just a bit on the strange side. I can say that because I knew him well. We had been friends for years, seeing each other at least once a week, going shopping, to the pub, out for dinner, you know all the normal things that couples do, apart from ‘that’. We stayed good friends even after I met Mark. As you know Mark is my second husband and during that barren time, in between wedding rings I wasn’t at all saintly. In fact, I rather liked my dalliance’s. But not with Mr Numpty. I had explained in great detail that he was just not the type of man I could see myself settling down with nor living happily ever after with. He was a great conversationalist and liked to laugh a lot, but he just wasn’t boyfriend material.

There are ten rules I apply to dating 

Rule One: Thou shalt have good teeth.

Rule two: Thou shalt not talk to my breasts but engage eye to eye on more than one occasion during a conversation.

Rule three: Thou shalt not continually talk about exes or dead girlfriends, boyfriends or spouses.

Rule four: Thou shalt wash.

Rule five: Thou shalt dress appropriately. Track suits, gym kit and yoga bottoms shall only be worn if the occasion calls for it. They do not look good around supermarkets nor in night clubs. No underwear should be seen above, below or through outerwear.

Rule six: Do not think you have the right to chastise me in public, for anything, that rule continues to be relevant should I deem you to be fit enough to marry.

Rule seven: Never make assumptions. I might change my mind and not have my usual latte, it doesn’t mean that I am inconsiderate, it just means that you were conceited enough to think on my behalf.

Rule eight: When it comes to thinking, yes, I am capable and I do not need childlike diagrams drawn for me, either physically, mentally or figuratively. I have a brain.

Rule nine: My bedroom is out of bounds unless you are invited, which means if I ask you to help me move furniture it is not a signal that you can lay stupidly on the bed and think that you are alluring.

And finally Rule ten: You are not God’s gift to anyone.

As I said, I had explained to Mr Numpty that he just wasn’t for me, and that he didn’t fulfil all the rules. But it wasn’t that which came between us, it was his Bookman behaviour. As time went by, he changed and started acting like, well I don’t know, sort of weird. He would read and he had a lot to learn and had the capacity to learn, however if he had shut up long enough to listen he would actually learn a bit more than that which one man and his word processor wanted him to know.
He would read a paragraph of a book and think he understood every concept. When we met he told me he was Buddhist, that didn’t last long. He was a boxing teacher, a writer, an artist, an all-round interesting man. But he was a Bookman, and they annoy me.
He quoted continuously from new books he had acquired and fancied himself as a guru, and after a while it became painful to see him making a fool of himself. I decided that it was time that I had a gentle word with him. I’d tried talking to him but he had this look that said, I’m here and I know you are talking but I don’t have to listen, and I don’t have time to, because I am too busy formulating my next amazing sentence and you should adore me for being able to recite this quote perfectly.

Ringing him that day was painful but I did manage to say, “Look Numpty, you’re boring the arse off our friends and the reason is because you are preaching from an untried scripture. You are being bloody stupid.”
I didn’t think I did that badly really. I was only being honest, I thought he might wake up a bit a realise that he had lost the fun side that I found so attractive when we first met.

He told everyone what I had said and instantly cut me out of his life. Hang on, it wasn’t as if I told him something that no one else was saying behind his back, but Oh was I the bad guy. We parted never to cross roads again, until that Wednesday when I had that feeling.

It wasn’t a normal day, I’m not in the habit of going into the town centre any more, we have one of those big retail parks on the outskirts and I can order most of the things I need on line. Go on shoot me, yes, I am one of those people that is facilitating the downfall of the town centre, but really, how many pound shops can one visit in one day? Wednesday was different I was on a mission, I have a new hobby but that’s top secret, and it’s going to stay that way.

As I parked up in the Supermarket carpark I had to take the path that led to the shopping centre. I just knew that I would see him, it had to happen sooner or later and it being a beautiful sunny day I had this feeling. And I was right.

I looked straight at him. Yep there he was, T-shirt and jogging bottoms but I was willing to forgive him, his son was with him and he was wearing the same so I let him off. I actually believe they had been to the gym. His boy saw me and at first smiled, and then looked down awkwardly. Mr Numpty just carried on.
No, you will not ignore me, no you will not just walk past me, you will not be ignorant. Rule eleven: Thou Shall Not be ignorant, I’ve just added that one.

I did the stride. The stride is a wondrous thing to see on an irate woman who is trying to look superior with an air of suave sophistication. (Wow, that took some doing, not being suave and sophisticated, but trying to spell suave. If you haven’t got the basics you’re fubared. So, after trying swarve, swarf, swarth, and numerous other combinations of google searches I gave up and became a Bookman, finding an old dusty dictionary on the shelf. The ironing has not escaped me.)

Pulling myself up to my full 5ft 5inchs, and swishing back my blue and red highlighted brown and blonde hair, yep I’ve been at the bottle again, I strode right up to Mr Numpty. In fact, I had to leave the path to enter the road to put my not so small frame in front of him. Did you know that the mind makes up to a million decisions a second, if it’s not supposed to then in that incident I must have overloaded it?
What do I say?
What do I do, shake his hand, give him a friendly hug, refrain from any physical contact?
Do I greet him and smile, keep dead pan, scowl?
Do I nod and walk on?
Do I engage in conversation?
Do I mention the tiff, the DVD of Disney’s Jungle Book I still have of his, that I want to return?
Do I back out and run away?
Do I say…
… fluff it, I’m better than this?

I held out my hand, good start. He took it. He said he didn’t recognise me. I told him I’d lost two stone. (I lied a tad, it’s only a stone, but he should at least compliment me and notice the difference. He didn’t, arsehole!) His son hugged me and smiled, saying he recognised me and that I was looking good.

I told him about my secret mission, no I’m not telling you lot, not yet. He started and my heart sank. He had been reading about a certain religion and had come across things that I already knew, but insisted that it was a new revelation that I really needed to be aware of these things. The lecture began. Was he now going to convert to another religion, did he not realise that faith required commitment.

He had stopped going to the club we use to visit, which I knew because I still go. He had not spoken to any of our friends because I quote, “He was sick of all the bullshit and the criticism.”
I said that it was a shame whilst trying to conjure up my best “there, there,” face and watched as his son tried to sink deeper and deeper into the paving. He looked at me with sorry eyes. Making my farewell, I prayed he would not want to contact me or start seeing me again, whilst weeping inside for the loss of our friendship and a once intelligent man, whose company I loved to keep. I wept for the loss of his two gorgeous children that I had spent so much time with over the years. I wept for us and our relationship.
We left each other, walking off with a quick, “Good to see you.” And parted. I was relieved. As I waited for the lights to change so that I could cross the busy road I glanced back and caught the eye of his son, who smiled and lifted his hand to me in a friendly wave. Not all was lost.

I got to my destination and instantly sent a text to my husband.
“OMG, I’ve just had a close encounter of the Mr Numpty kind.”
Mark knew straight away who I meant and rang saying he hadn’t heard from him in a while and that people had been saying that there was no great loss.
But there is you know. A thirst for knowledge is a beautiful thing, it is what gives us the drive to better our life, but when that takes over and life is forgotten, the person loses himself and is lost to the world.

For the first time ever, I felt like burning books, only the ones in Mr Numpties house, and disconnecting his internet and taking away his library card and slapping him really hard with a wet fish, that he might wake up and see the world once again for the amazing place it is. And me of course. Might not want to date him, but I was not amused when he didn’t bat an eyelid at my new svelte* slim fit figure.

*Have found dictionary, will use it.

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