A War of Words

Statistically speaking, Denmark is one of the safest countries in the world. I’ve not really seen any crime or violence since moving here nine months ago (though I’m fully aware of the numerous bike thefts that take place every day). Anti-social behaviour in general seems almost non-existent compared, at least, to the streets of the UK.

It must have had something to do with the fact that I was sitting with my legs crossed quite femininely and that I was dressed amazingly. An empty cigarette packet landed a foot away from me, aimed purposefully, no doubt, by one of the two geezers who’d just stepped on to the train. I ignored them and turned back towards the TV monitor where a news update was being aired. Out of the corner of my eye I saw them head towards me, as one of them kicked the packet at me with noticeable force.

Once sat down, the one closest to me decided it was a good idea to start spitting at me. Each globule of mucus missed my shiny Converse by an inch or two as I started to feel my blood boiling. I’m not a violent man – never have been – but it’s hard to keep control when two strangers are spitting at you on a public train during the middle of the day. It shows a complete lack of respect and this is one thing that really gets to me. I shot a glance at the dome-shaped surveillance camera in the corner of the carriage and wondered what the consequences would be if I gave this guy a slap. At some point I would need to leave the train and swipe out with my Travel Card, and this would give the authorities all they needed to track me down. Physical punishment was simply out of the question.

“Bøssemand! Hey, bøssemand!” shouted the chap. For those of you who haven’t learned this word yet it basically means “Gayboy.” Now there was no avoiding it – some kind of confrontation was necessary. And then I remembered something I’d read in a Derren Brown book once. The illusionist and cheeky mental trickster described a scenario where he was about to get punched and averted the situation by doing something utterly baffling and confusing, which threw the would-be assailant totally off-guard.

It was time to use some confusing tactics of my own.

I suddenly turned towards him and quickly registered an annoying grin on his face, before I hit him with the broadest Derbyshire dialect known to man. “Ayup mate, ya talkin’ t’ me, yeah? Ain’t got a clue what ya sayin, lard.” His grin headed south and I had him on the ropes, so I followed quickly with more inbred farmer talk: “How ya doin’, alreet? Avin’ fun kicking empty fag packets about?

Awkwardly he managed to muster a very quiet and confused ‘yeah’ but not before he shifted his gaze towards the bicycles, and then back towards his friend. There was silence for a few seconds, before moron number two intelligently added “I’m from Dublin, Ireland.” I fired back with “Are ya mate, good for you,” as fast as I could with no pauses in between any of the words. And that was it. The pair both went quiet and decided to continue spitting on the floor between their own shoes. They must really hate shoes.

Coincidentally, they decided to leave the train at the same time as two ticket wardens were getting on. Even so, they started to hurl verbal abuse at the two men (one of whom was built like a proper meat-head) and I watched through the window as a mini war of words took place on the platform. The two boys stood in defiance whilst giving the wardens the middle finger.

Speaking from experience, there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to communicate, or understand what’s being said to you. Everyone learning a foreign language will know this to some degree. But for the first time (and hopefully the last), I got a real kick out of confusing a Dane with my good ol’ back catalogue of very fast, random Derbyshire sayings.

Cheers duck, thanks for reading me’owed.