‘So where do you work?’
‘Hi. I was just wandering where you worked’ realising too late that people don’t usually start conversations with a complete stranger in a familiar manner that’s why they’re strangers, ‘because we’re both sort of sitting here on the pavement eating our lunch.’
‘Yeah I know that.’
There follows a barely-hidden stunned pause from the bloke eating his Innocent pot, so she asks again in a way that crudely defends rudeness as merely a misunderstood form of playfulness, ‘Sorry, is that too much to open with?’
‘No. Not at all’, thank god he’s blasé about it he’ll soon forget there was any awkwardness between two humans and both will be able to get on with their lives. ‘I work at the AA.’
‘The Architectural Association?’
Great! The Architectural Association is exactly where she wants to be but the only way to get a dose of good architecture for her is to walk through the British Museum – hurriedly - without pause to hesitate at the monuments encased beneath the big glass dome. Ah enormous glass greenhouse dome. This is the only part of London where glass works for her (means anything to her) other than a lazy substitute for walls and good stonework. What happened to the carvings? Where do all the sculptors go? – probably still the AA.
One week and a lot has had to be taken in to the stride of a week.
Summer’s reappeared craning her neck in sideways to enter a conversation the southern nation were having with autumn. To paint a picture: leaves have fallen but it’s still quite hot. Like the leaves have desiccated off branches and not fallen coolly like they’re supposed to. I saw a squirrel panting.
She was surprised at the balmy nature of a September evening the other night.
Since Thursday her thoughts had been preparing for what people call the weekend, but without much structure and particularly not a heptagonal one (why did God have to make it in 7?) she had just been going through the motions second-guessing what her fellow friends and counterparts wished to achieve during that 2 day getaway. But she was in for a surprise.
Since Thursday she had been removed from a house, forgotten a guitar, lost an oyster card, experienced a balmy September evening, got given a job, changed schools, befriended a tramp, written a letter, moved towns, slaughtered a pig, and had a hearty English breakfast. The biggest paradigm shift was possibly the realisation that solely due to the existence of the full English breakfast she no longer thought that British food sucked. She had been wrong all along! It was hard for her to accept her faults at first - she’s too proud I’m telling ya - but once she had conceptualised the English breakfast in all it’s glory Cornish pasties naturally followed and then Yorkshire puddings with gravy and steak pies. Pies. How could she have ever overlooked a game pie? I’ll never know.
‘So what do you do? Are you a student?’ Why does everyone think she’s a student? – probably because she doesn’t look wordly enough you know I think we can all agree on that. Or maybe it’s because she’s small. I’ve changed my mind I think it’s the latter!
‘I fight online piracy’, and also because she uses terms like ‘I fight…’ rather than ‘I work in…’ which is let’s say a more normal reply but also the reason why everyone watches Game of Thrones. Ah the double-edged battle axe. Context? Ok here’s some context - all weekend she had been slaying dragons with a troupe of players in preparation for a show - not a real battle – though performing is a battle for shy ones.
‘How do you do that?’
‘You know scour the web and things, find links.’
‘What are you looking for?’
‘Mainly online piracy of intellectual property.’
‘What like streaming films?’ the lunch bloke has opened up all of a sudden no longer leaving our small person bereft of social communication, she rises to the challenge and they hold a conversation for at least five minutes – that’s five minutes of unadulterated conversation with a stranger in London guys – see, you bloodysceptics.
Monday night. The night that starts the week.
It’s still quite balmy over here, and even though we were on the edge of the river it retained that summer quality. In the morning I thought it looked like Christmas because of the mist that rose and the pollution that hugged the skyscrapers, so tightly.
Sometimes she was bowled over at how such a messy ruthless city can be so calm and attractive. That was her Sunday morning before the dragons. And tonight is the Monday evening before the dawn.