Whenever possible use the bus

I travel to and from work every single day on the tube. Yesterday, however, during some kind of failure on the eastbound Central Line, one person (who really should know better) asked me if I always took the bus from Charing Cross to White City.

If I took the bus I don’t think I’d ever arrive at work, to be honest. I might as well work from home if I had to take the bus to and from work. It is quite a long way.

Mind you, yesterday afternoon (yes, I know it’s old news) I did experience two things which surprised me.

The first is something I can’t talk about. One key piece of evidence is currently in the process of being corroborated. It wouldn’t be particularly good to reveal that at this point in time.

The second thing took a good 24 hours to sink in.

As the 94 bus stood at one of many stops on Oxford Street I observed one tall man dressed in a white billowy shirt and some kind of canvassy-type trousers walk down the street. Something about him made him look unusual. Was it his alabaster skin ? Or maybe the strangely dark stubble across his face? Or was it the unmistakable sight of a bra strap underneath his unbuttoned shirt?

I’ll confess there was a moment when I thought, “I don’t believe I’m seeing this. Is that man for real?”

I watched him stop outside the window of a shop selling ladies underwear. Then I saw him fiddle with a pinky, shimmery garment poking out from under that strange looking shirt as he looked at the window display.

I felt a mixture of emotions, I’ll confess. There was a moment of total disbelief when I clapped eyes on him. There was a moment when I probably could have said out loud “you’re joking”. And yet the overriding feeling I have is something which would almost certainly would have propelled me to get up from my seat, leave the bus, leap across the pavement and give him a hug.

I don’t believe for a moment that trying out those feelings can be easy. Confronting them considerably more difficult and telling others about them an absolute nightmare.

Miserable fucking so and so

Miserable passenger

I had some considerable trouble getting to work this morning. The first issue was leaving my wallet behind. Sadly, I only realised that when I got to the front of this queue and realised I had absolutely no means to pay for my return ticket to White City.

That wasn’t the worst of it though. As I arrived in the ticket hall with my bike, puffing slightly, hoping I might just work a miracle and make it on to the train, I realised that the train I had been aiming for was slowly pulling out of the station.

Predictably, I communicated my disappointed with a swift but satisfying “damn it” before shuffling to the back of the queue and waiting my turn like a good boy.

Shame then that the man in front of me (pictured) chose to turn around, his top lip curled skyward and say “You’ll have to wait your turn like the rest of us.”

Stunned and even more irritated than before I succeeded in delivering a fairly weak-willed response. “I wasn’t suggesting otherwise,” I said. Ever the grown-up, I began mouthing obscenties at him when he faced the other way. *

What I’d really like, you see, is for the pesky liars in the world and those who reckon their place on earth is secured by being grumpy to everyone in the mornings to be eradicated, preferably at birth if that’s at all possible.

* I didn’t think much to his waterproof coat, myself. I thought it looked a little pathetic. Still, he did strike me as a little thin and where was the arse in his trousers? Poor blighter. Got to forgive him really, I suppose.

When fear takes hold

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at dealing with fear. 

I’m fine with the obvious kind – you know, the times when you look down to the ground from a great height and all you can feel are your legs trembling uncontrollably – I know what I need to do in order to overcome that. Just move away from the edge and take a few deep breaths and you’ll be fine.

There’s another kind of fear which, for me, at least is far more debilitating.

It happened today. The problem raised its ugly head without a moments notice. No-one else saw it. Everyone, in fact, seemed almost bemused when I spoke of it with them. But I know I saw it.

It happened in a split second. I overheard someone at the queue for coffee this morning mention something which was a blatant lie. I knew it as soon as they said it. Sure, I didn’t have any evidence for it and if I was to stand up in a court of law and denounce him I wouldn’t, as the saying goes, have a leg to stand on. But I know it was a lie. I could feel it.

The lie felt like a soft pillow. Soft, comforting but ultimately dangerous. That’s what was in my mind when I heard him say it. “You’re saying like you’re being cool and laid back,” I thought to myself, “You’re saying it like it was fact. But how can it be fact. I know what I heard you say before and I know it was nothing like you said just now.” I didn’t say it, obviously. I just thought it. But in that split second of thinking it, something inside me began to change.

When I witness these moments I’m like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I look around in desperate search of a trusting face. Someone who will look and speak in a reassuring way. For the lie to be dismissed and the person lying to be disarmed takes a very special person with whom I have a very special relationship to tap me on the shoulder and point out that, “everything will be OK .. we’re all on to him, don’t you worry.”

I’m happy to say that this situation doesn’t occur so much as it used to, but when it does it’s like a thunderbolt. Time suddenly stands still. Indistinct faces laugh at my integrity, jumping out at me from unexpected places. I stand seemingly powerless to do anything, in awe of the power a liar has in undermining my very foundations.

They are the most destructive of individuals. I only wish they’d destroy themselves first before they attempt to lay claim on others around them.