an idiot in london


Monday, 22nd May.
Off the rails

After work I went out to Tufnell Park to visit Mark and Bonnie. They had been for a walk just before I arrived - they had found a hill in London! Truly!

While I was waiting at the station to return to SW6, a bloke wandered up to me. He said hello or something like that, and I said hi back. "Are you travelling?" he asked. Err, no. But an easy mistake to make - I was sitting there with my backpack on and with a sleeping mat in my hand. "You're not travelling? Oh, right...are you a member of the Jesus army?" Umm, I don't know. No? Maybe? Is there a specific army of His going round at the moment? I'm not a member of any "named" army. "No" I replied. I guess that since I was wearing collar-and-tie and looked too respectable for Tufnell Park that I could be mistaken for a Mormon. "Ok. Well, good talking to you," he said, and walked off. Hmm.

He had gone a couple of metres when he turned around and said "Are you from Australia?" Yes, I am. "I guessed that" he said, walking back towards me. "In fact, I said g'day to you, didn't I?" You could have, I replied, I wouldn't have noticed. Then I nearly fell off the seat.

"How are the aborigines doing?" Well there's a question you don't get asked every day. There I am, skinny middle class white Ian, being asked about the plight of the aboriginal people by a black guy in a train station in North London. Unexpected, yet not unusual for Planet Ian.

So how do you sum up the fortunes of a people? "Not too flash" I said. "Are there racists in Australia?" Well, yes, there are. "Do, like, some of the whites think they're pretty good? Better than the rest?" I guess they do.

"Where are you travelling to now?" Fulham, I replied. A train screamed into the station. "Good talking to you," he yelled with a hint of deja vu, "bye!" He boarded the train, and was whisked away. I sat on the echoing platform, pondering all that had just happened.

Now a few random notes:

1 Today at work I discovered that the English don't use the phrase "open slather". Many strange looks when I asked if it was open slather.

2 On Friday last week I was having lunch downstairs with my replacement, Katy. We were sitting at a table, munching away (we both love to eat) and a bloke came over and asked "Will you be needing these chairs?" indicating the unused chairs.

My mouth was full of whatever I was eating, so I just gestured that it was ok. Katy did likewise. Once I had forced down that mouthful, I said to Katy "I had my mouth full, and I couldn't fire off a witty reply! Will you be needing these chairs? Well, yes actually, we'll be needing them for our act!" "Hang on a second," Katy said grinning, "let me get out my spare arse!"

sigh...I'm in love.

(Not really.)

3 One other thing. Ordinarily I don't promote other websites on my site, but I would like to give this a mention...

There is a website called Nothing like the real planetian.