From the desk of Roland Rocchiccioli – 07 January

January 7, 2024 BY

I never forgot: I was, always, Home Before Dark! Image: SUPPLIED

Sometimes I feel I am marching to the beat of my own drum, regardless; or perhaps I am a relic from a forgotten past. Maybe I am a foundling alien!


DEGREES of lateness notwithstanding, I try, always to be polite.

A theatrical life demands you be polite to those people who have paid money to see your production. They are, ultimately, those who keep in buns and Bonox!

I am first to admit, I am very capable of being unpleasant – even nasty; however, it is not my natural or preferred state of existence. I am attracted to people. I talk! The human condition is endlessly fascinating. My entire career has been studying the text; trying to understand the modus operandi of characters – fictitious and real. I am never bored with the minutia of other people’s lives. Invariably, it makes for the best drama.

Perhaps it is a date of birth problem. I am of the first generation of baby-boomers. A child of the 1950s, I went away to boarding school in the 1960s.

The Second World War was fought for me and my contemporaries. We wallowed in victory’s long shadow. We viewed the world through a roseate hue. All that could be done, was done, to prepare us for a prosperous career. We were the first generation with a sense of entitlement.

Conversely, we were subjected to rigid standards of behaviour. Adults were addressed as Mister and Misses; children travelling on buses gave-up their seats for their elders; you rose when a teacher entered the room, regardless; you were not allowed to back-answer or argue – even when you were right; if a policeman told you to “get-off home, or I’ll give you a kick in the backside”, you high-tailed it, fearing he would arrive and snitch to your parents. You had to be home before dark – no excuses! It was the age of physical chastisement. We were polite, always.

In recent times, three encounters with employees have culminated in distressingly stern words.

The first was with a medical receptionist – the last place you would expect to encounter personal antipathy. Self-evidently, you are there because all is not well – sometimes seriously so. That temperament is not the first criteria for employment in such an establishment is a conundrum.

I have visited the same franchise pizza parlour for 15 years. Always, I ordered the same treat: a small, vegetarian. Without fail, it was delicious.

On my last visit, and without checking the menu, I ordered the usual.

Unbeknownst, there had been changes to the venue which included an increase in cost, and to the topping of the vegetarian pizza. It was horrid. Not quite, but almost, inedible.

When I complained the waitress was indifferent, besides, “We’re too busy to tell customers about menu changes”.

I went to pay. The unprepossessing employee was disinterested.

Was he aware of my complaint? “Yeah.”

The ingredients were awful, “It’s on the menu.”

For how pizzas many am I paying? “Two, ya ade it.”

Unequivocally, I would not be returning, “Okay!”

Whereupon he turned away.

The encounter at the third major supermarket was the straw which broke the camel’s back. I changed direction, almost colliding with a shop assistant. “I’m sorry,” I said, and smiled. If looks could kill I would be dead. She walked away.

“Excuse me,” I called after her. “Mind your manners.” She stopped, looked, all but curled her lip, and moved-on.

I called for the manager. He responded to my complaint and suggestion, succinctly, “Okay. No worries!”

Clearly, I am a relic. I give-up! Rudeness prevails.

Roland can be contacted via [email protected].