Busy Bodies

Greetings from Washington DC — Dulles airport, to be exact. It’s my first return to my old home in over 4 years. Sadly, it will only be for a couple of hours, as I am en route to Florida, whereupon I must drive my sister’s car to Toronto. Long story. Well, not really that long, I just don’t want to tell it.


Know what I can’t stand? Busybodies. There was a rash of them this past week in Ottawa. On two occasions, crotchety old ladies berated me for coasting my bicycle onto the sidewalk before locking it up. “You’ll get a ticket!” they both warned, fingers a-wagging, presumably upset that I failed to dismount and walk my bike a piddling distance of 10 feet.

On another occasion an old man saw me driving 3 metres into a 1-way street, going the wrong way, before turning around. (See it’s a short cut to dip into the 1-way street. Illegal, but I can afford the ticket, so what the frack do I care?) sure enough, he came with finger a-wagging, warning me that I would get a ticket.

Friends have reported similar instances of old prunes lecturing them for facing their cars in the wrong direction when parking, or for riding their bikes without a helmet.

These were not instances of friendly citizens offering helpful advice. They were spiteful old codgers upset that someone was getting away with something extremely minor, but that they themselves were probably too chickenshit to do. It really is none of their business.

So my question to you, gentle reader, is how does one tell a crotchety old fart to politely fuck off? Precise verbiage would be appreciated.

Clarification: Let me be more clear. These weren’t instances of casual comments on the go. These were instances of old codgers following me down the street, repeating their warnings fairly aggressively, even after I’d politely thanked them and moved on. I suspect there was an old codger meeting and they decided on a Week of Action in August, during which they would harass minor scofflaws and turn us all into foul-mouthed reactionaries.