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
"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
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.
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 www.planet-ian.com.
Nothing like the real planetian.