There's a disgusting and vomit-inducing plague on Britain's streets today, floating around and latching on to any who come within 20 feet.
I'm writing, of course, about those high street charity collectors. The ones who try to publicly shame you into donating to a charity, not simply throwing change in a bucket, but with a monthly subscription. They even employ war-like tactics, spreading themselves across both sides of the road so there's no escape from the social anxiety of looking like a tight-fisted meany.
These people are toying with traditional British values of politeness, attempting to con us into conversations and leaving us with no way out. It's distinctly un-British to ignore someone who speaks to you in the street, manners and common courtesy force you to reply and fabricate an elaborate excuse.
But these people know that. They know they are playing with the very fabric of our society and the leech off our social anxiety like a parasite draining the life of its host.
Do I want to donate to charity? Yes. Yes I do. But I'd like to do it in my own time and not in a way that provides you with commission, or more numbers towards whatever lavish bonus Cancer Research or the British Heart Foundation are offering you if you manage to trick everyday people into being bombarded on their email, phone, text messages and any other device every ten seconds.
I want to donate to charity so my money can go towards the cause, to supporting people in need or towards the infrastructure that allows the company to do their good work. I don't want it to pay for your all-expenses-taken-care-of piss up in Marbella.
And to any of you reading this who disagree - don't lie to yourself. You've been in the situation before. You're rushing off to work, or trying to get to Gregg's in that four second window while the steak bakes are still hot when you're approached by a dreadlocked student with a set of tubular bells hanging from his nostrils and an uncharacteristically large smile on his face, asking politely for ten seconds of your time or attempting to con you into a conversation with something much less foreboding like asking what you're up to today. You can't simply ignore him because where's the decency in that? You get pulled into the all-encompassing orbit of a charity mugger.
In any other country someone who waves their arm in your face or shouts at you while you're trying to get somewhere would end up tasting a knuckle sandwich, but no. We're British, so we let it happen.
You're forced to listen to his spiel even if you have no intention of giving and then you need to make up an extraordinary excuse as to why you won't. Just to make you feel better, you say you already donate, or give some other bogus reason. And they seemingly have an answer for anything you say, dragging you deeper into the pit of despair as the queue for the sausage rolls starts to triple in size.
And if the person who stops you is mildly attractive? God help you, you'll be there for days trying to leave them with the impression that you're not a stingey fucker even though, in reality, you totally are.
We need to get these daylight robbers off our streets.
Useful links for victims of chuggers: