Weblog entries for June 2003


I did not meet the woman of my dreams

For years, when travelling on the tube, I dreamt of meeting the woman of my dreams by sitting opposite her when we were both reading the same book. We'd both glance up at the same moment, realise what the other was reading and live happily ever after.

Disclaimer: I should point out at this stage that this is all a bit academic because I have already met the woman of my dreams. Please don't kill me. :-)

Anyway, this desire went unfulfilled despite my best efforts. But today it finally happened! I got on the Northern line at London Bridge, sat down, opened my book, glanced up to see the person sitting opposite me was reading the same book as me, and exchanged meaningful glances with each other.

Murphy's Law dictates that this person was male, but that's life. Better luck next time.


The plain and strange stay mainly on the train

I moved home last week, which was really fun in the insane heat of last weekend. Hopefully this weekend will be similarly hot and sunny, so we'll get to spend some time on the beach.

My new location means that a large part of my commute is by train. I haven't been doing it long but I have already noticed some differences between trains and tubes. I think the strangest difference is the people who use each kind of transport. There are some types of people you see on trains who rarely appear on the tube, and vice versa.

Most obvious is the lone middle-aged man, who arrives in my carriage part way through the journey, having visited the buffet car. He slides nervously into his seat, clutching his paper bag which contains some overpriced sandwiches and a Coke. He has greasy hair, wispy facial hair, and is wearing a shirt and tie which he has owned for 20 years. And that's not to mention the cardigan.

Grasping his bottle of Coke firmly, he carefully unscrews the cap and replaces it in the bag. Looking anxiously around, and pausing only to push his glasses further up the bridge of his nose, he takes a series of gulps until, his thirst satisfied, a pudgy hand extracts a packet of crisps from the bag. These he proceeds to insert into his mouth by the handful, never quite managing to fit them all in and so having to eat with his mouth open.

It is at this point when I sigh, adjust my position so as to be facing more away from him, bury my nose in my book, and feel thankful that I am getting off at the next stop.


I may have forgotten something

Sometimes, when I leave the house, I get a feeling I've forgotten something. Perhaps I've left the oven on, or left a window open somewhere, or failed to bring something with me that I need. This feeling is of course directly proportional to the length of my absence from the house and the importance of whatever it is I've forgotten.

Another important factor is when this feeling strikes. Usually it's when I'm far enough away from the house that going back to check would be at best annoying, or impossible, such as when my train is pulling out of Waterloo.

When I pop over the road to buy the Sunday paper, there's never any feeling at all. When leaving for work for the day, I get the occasional minor twinge (fortunately, the odds of me having used the oven in the morning are extraordinarily low). Then there's that old classic, going on holiday.

Now I'm moving house. Given that the feeling, the duration and the importance are proportional, and that I'll be leaving the house for ever, can I expect to get an infinitely bad feeling that I've forgotten something infinitely important?

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