I’d like to thank a man in his 60s who I’ve never spoken to for making me want to write on this blog again. When I had just graduated, I was unemployed and living at my mother’s house. I was going out of my mind with boredom and she was going out of her mind with my incessant talking and inability to tidy up after myself. She kept asking how long exactly it was going to be before I moved out. I told her I was going to finish my novel then get a job. I had a go at this for a while, reached 30,000 words after three months and gave up, tried to finish a non-fiction project instead, reached 30,000 words and gave up. But all the time I was starting projects and stopping them, I wrote this blog. Like a sort of column that nobody really read. Writing about the small observations I had from time to time about people and things kept me sane.
Yesterday, I was sitting with a friend in Soho at a stupidly early time to be sitting in a pub in Soho. As we talked about why we were both skiving off work, and about India, where my next adventure is going to take place and where she lived for a time, I saw a man get out of a taxi with two lime green suitcases with blue straps across them that were identical to each other. My friend and I talked some more. A man in his 60s had been sitting across from us drinking beer from an old-fashioned glass mug on his own. He’d finished his second glass and started shuffling his things about. Taking a piece of paper from a pocket, he placed it under his mug and started toward the top of the stairs that lead down to the toilets. I thought this strange and stood up to take a look at the paper...
...it had a photo quality photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger on it and underneath was typed ‘i’ll be back.’ Nobody else noticed. It made my day. And then I thought back to a couple of things I had saved –
‘Week beginning 9th July:
As I exited an underground station, someone stood on the loose pavement slab I was standing on, causing it to lift a little and giving me a free ‘ride.’
On the Bakerloo line, an elderly man with a friar’s bald spot sat with his last two long white hairs raised by the breeze running through the carriage.
At Waterloo station, a Jamaican man in his 40s was wheeling a trolley around M&S. The trolley contained old framed portraits. There were colourful signs attached to the side of the trolley. Shop staff approached the man. He smiled and said ‘wagwan wagwan?!’ several times. Then, ‘I’m going to a party!’ Every single member of staff was smiling as I left.
A man standing in the gardens of a council estate block on a hill was wearing a kilt with traditional socks as he sheared the plants at the edge of the grass.
Week beginning 16th July:
An orange rubber duck found on the pavement on a gray day…
And so, I don’t know how regularly I’ll write, and it’s true that I’m only writing now because the internet is broken in my house and the only thing to do is write. But we’ll see. I hope I will.