Walk never-ending

 

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Wise words

“Well you know what they say, put five hundred monkeys in a room and they’ll come up with Shakespeare”

The guy chatting to his friend on the train, I don’t think he thought this one through

There’s a young man who lives down my road. I often see him on my way into work and one my walk home. On the odd occasion I’ve been walking that bit of road in the middle of the day, I’ve seen him then too. He walks with his head hung low, slowly plodding one foot then the other, up and down towards the station and back again. I figure he must live in the halfway house on my road and they kick him out during the day. I always want to talk to him because it seems like a lonely life, but since he’s staring down at the floor I can’t catch his eye.

Anyway, today he was sitting in front of a house, in the driveway, on his knees, facing the building. His head hung low as always. Just kneeling there, long enough for me to walk up the road and past him without moving. It was worrying.

Word of the day – Eremiomania – abnormal interest in stillness

I’m attracting trouble again

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This morning I was making my way to the station, when I think a guy threatened to punch me. It was very odd.

I was walking beside a main road, when I saw him coming towards me on my side of the pavement. He wasn’t big, but he was wiry, tense and with a look of utter rage and hatred, staring straight at me. At about fifteen feet away, he began punching at the air in front of him, all the while looking at me. I stepped to one side so that I wasn’t in his path, he stepped to the same side, still punching. I stopped, not sure what else to do. He kept coming, still punching, I didn’t move. Finally he stopped and stood in front of me, fists flailing in my direction, but not quite reaching. I stared at him trying to find an expression that didn’t look scared or aggressive, I probably just looked blank. Then with a jabbing finger he pointed to one side, presumably to suggest I walk around him. I did, waiting for him to thump me as I walked past, he didn’t and I caught the train. Too strange to deal with at seven in the morning.

At work we got guilted into using the new mess room.

‘We redecorated this for you all! Why aren’t you in it? Don’t you like it?’

So the smokers sat outside the new room on rocks (no benches here) and the rest of us sat inside on the most uncomfortable chairs in the world. They have some fancy new ergonomic design (remember they were acquired from another business that was throwing them out) and they slope downwards. So when you sit on one, you slowly slide off. The only way to stay on the chair is to constantly press your feet against the floor. This is fucking up my back. I’m going to pinch an old, battered wooden chair from one of the gardens and put that inside.

Word of the day: orey-eyed – expressing anger through the eyes

Angry Staring Man! The Encounter.

 

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‘There is a point at which you have to stop preparing to do something and just do it.’

Embrace the Soul Backwards – Emily Stardust

So after the success/not success of talking to fabulous woman yesterday (I got a nod!), I decided to try with angry staring man today. For anyone not keeping up (ie almost all of the world) angry staring man is the smart dressed man who sits on the train staring straight ahead. Since me and him were the only ones not looking at our phones or a book, I felt we had a connection. Since he looks like he’s involved in all sorts of dodgy corporate dealings, I have been curious about what I could learn from him. So today was the day.

So I sat opposite  him, trying to keep the expectant look off my face. Would he tell me about the secret shenaninagans going on at Bohemian Grove? Or the dirty deals between politicians and arms dealers? Would he explain where the tunnels lead underneath International banks?

My excitement lasted a happy moment as I looked across at him, prepared to demand his attention, and then…the happy moment wrinkled into one of sickness.

He stank! You know that sickly perfume they pump out in public toilets? Angry staring man smelt like somebody had poured a bucket of that over him. Or like that gross perfume they put on sanitary products for some twisted reason. I didn’t start a conversation, I was too busy trying not to breathe. And I don’t believe that anyone who  goes to Bohemian Grove would smell that bad.

Word of the day: Graveolent – rank-smelling; fetid

Boy meets tiger

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A fabulous tiger lived in an oak
The more she saw the less she spoke
The less she spoke the more she heard
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

Word of the day: zoanthropy – delusion that one is an animal

Somebody brought a small hyperactive boy onto this morning’s train. Now I know it can be unavoidable, and I felt sorry for the poor mum who looked worn ragged beyond sense, but a kid on the morning train is never a good idea. Everybody is grumpy, groggy and quiet as commuters try to cope with the start of a new day. Just think of the bad karma this kid is building up to work off later in life, all those angry thoughts heading in his direction as he squeals and thumps the seats. No child can properly understand how rush hour trains are, and this excitable boy was simply confused why no one wanted to play. He’d run up and down the aisle trying to start conversations, until finally he spotted fabulous woman. She was sitting opposite me, attention on her phone.

Today, along with the orange striped hair and claw rings, she was wearing orange eye shadow a stripy t-shirt. She looked especially fabulous. Excitable boy stopped and stared for a bit, then said,

‘Are you pretending to be a tiger?’

Fabulous woman gave him an intense glare, one that must have cut right through his hyperactivity and into his soul, and said,

‘No. I AM a tiger.’

Excitable boy slunk back to his seat and stayed quiet for the rest of the journey, occasionally looking over to where she sat. Not fearful, but in awe.

I waved my head about like a snake trying to catch her eye. Eventually she looked over and nodded. Then she stared out the window for the rest of the journey, constantly ready in case another desperate situation called for a tiger.

Betrayed! No nomophiliac!

 

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“I find people confusing.”

― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Word of the day: Bionomics – study of organisms interacting in their environments

Ok, so today I was going to do it, I was going to talk to angry staring man. I spent the walk to the station psyching myself up, I had a shortlist of possible opening gambits. I was ready. But as I walked down the aisle, I saw him sitting bold as brass and looking at his phone!

He must have known that was a betrayal, we don’t look at our phones! That’s what everyone else does, but we’re the nomophiliacs! We’re different! But was looking at the screen very seriously, as if he was getting some news of a corporate takeover of the mafia. Or plans to replace the Queen with a clone. Definitely something with huge repercussions for society. So can I forgive him?

You may be thinking, If angry staring man is so important, why is he taking the train, wouldn’t he have a chauffeured car? But that’s because you’re wrong and don’t understand the ways of angry staring man.

Anyway, so I went and sat opposite fabulous woman. I tried to catch her eye again, but she had a careful not-catching-eye demeanour. Maybe she is a celebrity and she’s sick of plebs trying to talk to her. Maybe she’s a superhero and is worried if she gets distracted by petty conversations she won’t be ready for when the villain tries to flip the train into another dimension. There is a black stripe in the middle of her orange striped hair now. Tiger!

I haven’t given up yet, but I’m not good at this.

Bigger than you might think

 

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People are strange when you’re a stranger
Faces look ugly when you’re alone

People are Strange  – The Doors

Phrase of the day: el semaforo de medianoche (Venezuelan Spanish) a pushover, literally ‘a traffic light at midnight’

Today a set of traffic lights was found lying in the road on the estate at my work. Weirdly there was no obvious place in the street missing a traffic light and it didn’t look like sabotage. We tried to work out where it came from using the No right turn and Park closed features, but there were too many options and we’re too easily distracted. The current theory is that some workmen replaced this one with a new set, but then forgot to take this away. I was surprised at how huge it was.

On the train this morning, fabulous woman had dyed a streak in her hair orange and had rings shaped like claws. I think she’s turning into a tiger. I tried to catch her eye, see if I could start a conversation, but she was in the world of her phone screen and didn’t notice me.

Here’s another one of the traffic lights. My muddy foot bottom left for scale.

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So close to sinister secrets

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Phrase of the day: Today I am all tick and no tock (great phrase, courtesy of Colin McQueen)

The angry staring man was on the train chewing gum today. Angrily. Hands on the single crease down his trouser legs. I’ll bet he not only owns an iron, but a travel iron. I really want to talk to him. I feel like his life is so far away from anything I know and vice versa, we could strike up an exceptional partnership. He’d tell me the murky secrets of working in an International bank, arranging coups and investing in stock things for corporate murderers and I’d explain how to get a broken mower started or how to prune a climbing rose.

I know what you’re thinking: he sounds evil, why do you want to talk to him? Well, because I never meet evil people. Everybody I know and work with is lovely, thoughtful and completely without any kind of power or money. And I have this fascination with worlds I can’t enter, with locked doors and hidden truths, however terrible those truths might be. Angry Staring Man has access to those locked doors, I’m sure of it.

Fabulous woman was there too, with lots of huge rings, a skull, a bull, an opal, they look like knuckledusters. I keep expecting the other passengers on the train to start dressing like her. I’m always on the look out for someone else wearing a new pair of fluffy boots or a tiara of spikes. Fabulous woman should be on the television.

No nomophobia

 

 

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“I could see her fighting an internal battle, her face furrowed and fevered, her sentences trailing off as her concentration kept flicking time and time again. She was tethered by a choke chain to her cell and whenever she tried to pull away into the cafe where we sat, the chain yanked and she was checking for texts once more.”

Our Last Hurrah – Dorothea Wallick

Word of the day: Nomophobia – the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.

Continuing on my people-watching on the morning train…

I’ve realised that one of the twins is slightly cooler than the other. He’s a bit bigger, walks with more of a strut and less of a hunch. I wonder if he knows, I wonder if he lords it over the other one, or if the other one is resentful. Could wind up as a Whatever Happened to baby Jane situation. Going to keep watching to figure out the dynamic.

Today biker boot lady is wearing earrings with lizards on them. But not dainty little silver lizards. These are the size and colour of actual lizards. And I’m sure I just saw one of them twitch.

Yesterday I mentioned angry staring man. He was there today, staring furiously.

Because I tend to spend the journey ambling around my thoughts, I don’t look at my phone or read. I stare out the window or watch my fellow passengers. But everybody else, everybody! is somehow engaged with their phone: playing games, watching TV, having a conversation. That rectangle of technology contains everything people want and reality does not.

The only other person on the train not looking at his phone, is angry staring man. He looks straight ahead, occasionally around, with a steely look of impatience. Sometimes chewing gum. He wears a smart suit with a silk lined jacket and shiny shoes. I’m aware when I’m sitting there in my mud streaked trousers, with my hair tied back in what has been kindly referred to as a ‘messy bun’ and my dirty nails, that me and angry staring man don’t have much in common. But it’s just me and him not snagged by our phones, which means we are the only two floating around real life while everybody else is asleep.

I know what I’m thinking about, but what about him? Unlike my vague wandering thoughts, his look is angry and filled with intent. He’s not in a morning fug, he is working things out. Important things.

Ah look at all the lonely people tum te tum te tum te tum te tum te

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“I like to prowl ordinary places
and taste the people-
from a distance.”
― Charles Bukowski, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit

Word of the day: Farrago – a confused mass of objects or people, any disordered mixture

I’ve been spending the week paying attention to my fellow passengers on the morning train. I only see for them for a short time each day, when at my most befuddled and slow, and when everyone is sitting silently, also befuddled and slow. But over the months, I’ve noticed little dramas play out and the fascinating oddballs become apparent (this isn’t an insult by the way, I am definitely an oddball, oddballs are my people.)

For example, there are the twins, two young men who aren’t twins, but travel together with the same hairstyle and clothes and rucksack. When one gets a haircut, the other gets the same a few days later; when one starts wearing shorts the other does the next day. They get off at the same station and walk side by side, hands in pockets, the same loping walk. But they never speak to each other. They don’t sit together or acknowledge each other in any way. My conclusion is that either: they are psychic, although I’d assume they’d start wearing the shorts on the same day. OR: one is stalking, following and copying the other who doesn’t know how to get rid of him. One day I’m expecting a punch up.

Then there’s the large, middle-aged woman who wears biker boots with spikes on them, a pink streak in her hair and huge colourful jackets. I love her. She’s my hero.

Then, sometimes, there is the angry staring man.

Meeting the pigeon lady

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Word of the day: Engastration – stuffing of one bird inside another (I’m not sure why this word exists, but it’s beautiful).

Weather: patchy

Mood: patchy

I went out for a wander around London today. I like to walk under the railway tracks. I was walking towards one archway, when I saw a cloud of pigeons rise up, flutter about for a bit, then land again. I stopped to watch and this happened a couple more times. Then I walked closer and saw a woman was feeding them, whole bags of seed tipped onto the pavement. She was a bit hostile at first, but when I bumped into her five minutes later doing the same thing in the park, we gave each other a nod of recognition. It was good, I like to feel I have points of contact around the city. That I know what’s going on, the important things.

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