Formerly Worktown Words

Encounters by Dorothy Snelson


If I arrange to ‘meet’ a friend for coffee. It will be a pleasant experience and I can look forward to it.

If I’encounter’ something nasty on the pavement. I will be displeased as it is not something I expected.

Looking back, I realise that I have had very few major ‘encounters’ in my 78 years. Certainly none of the alien kind.

I haven’t come face to face with a man eating tiger or fended off a grizzly bear. Then again, I have lived my entire life in Bolton, not some Indian village or the wilds of Canada so that probably explains things.

I probably encountered several ‘wandering hands’ in my teenage years which I may or may not have fended off depending on the young man involved. This has been less of a problem as I approach my 80th birthday.

I rack my brains to remember an ‘encounter’ and chuckle as I remember one incident in the 70’s. Yes, sorry I am going back so far. Although I chuckle now, at the time I was quite angry.

I had taken my seven or eight year old son to an afternoon double bill at the Odeon, Jason and the Argonauts and sorry again, the other film eludes me. I was a young mum, probably around thirty, small in stature and with long hair that I wore in a ponytail that day. We sat in the circle, quite high up, and when the lights went on in the interval we were in the middle of a sea of empty seats. Down at the front were a couple of rows occupied by lots of children and on the back of these two row was a lad of about fifteen, probably supposedly in charge of some of these kids. He was lounging with one arm over the back of the seat and looking directly up at us and grinning. I had a feeling that he might be trouble. Sure enough, the lights went down and the next thing I knew was him creeping along our row and sitting down right next to me. He really should have gone to Specsavers as he obviously thought from his seat down below that I was a ‘big sister’ accompanying a little boy to the cinema.

He started to lean in and that was when I stamped on his foot as hard as I could, levered up my protesting child, gave the lad a kick for good measure, and moved us several rows further down. I looked back and he was limping along the row and back to his seat at the front. 

A minor encounter in the scheme of things but one I always recall when Jason and the Argonauts is repeated on telly for the umpteenth time.

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