Well, here I am again, unable to sleep and wondering what an earth to do with myself.
Two big things of note happened today, and myriad tiny things also happened, most of which will be forgotten*.
The two big things bookended the day.
In the morning I got into an altercation with a BMW driver.
I was walking towards the station and he sped past me. This would be the end of the story, had he not followed this up by mounting the pavement.
As I walked past him, I said, “can you maybe not speed or mount the pavement? Children are trying to walk to school”.
He responds by shouting at me from the wheel. “I live here! That’s my flat right there!”
I’m not sure what this has to do with anything, but I shake my head at him and put my earphones in, continuing the walk across the sorry pavement towards the back entrance to the station.
A few minutes later, someone is shouting “take your fucking headphones off, you coward” at me.
It’s the man from the BMW. He has run after me to remonstrate. He doesn’t fit my stereotypical profile of a furious driver. He’s early forties, curly hair. Very well spoken. But, nevertheless, extremely angry.
I stop and turn to face him. He’s very tall, and attempts to put his face as close to mine as possible, as he says:
“How do you know I was speeding? Do you have a speed gun? Are you in the police? I wasn’t speeding, I live round here!”
I say: “look mate, you were clearly speeding, and right in front of a primary school. Maybe don’t?”
“I wasn’t speeding.”
“Yes you were.”
“I wasn’t speeding.”
“You were doing at least thirty, and that’s being generous”.
“I wasn’t doing thirty. That’s a 6 litre engine. It’s noisy. And you come over and accuse me of speeding, who are you? Where do you live?”
“I’m not telling you. Why are you asking?”
“I wasn’t speeding. You’re a liar.”
He’s right in my face now.
“Sure, sure. You were doing, what, sixteen, seventeen miles an hour were you?”
He’s totally lost it by this point, ranting in my face. I start walking towards the underpass and the train platforms.
He’s following me, calling me a coward. “Come back here, you coward. You can’t just walk away from me.”
And I turn around and say, “what, are you going to fight me?”
I start laughing and say “you could have got there at 20[mph] by now, couldn’t you?”
He’s still shouting, and I say, “are you late for work now? Do you have a job?”.
“Of course i have a fucking job!”
“Then why are you following me?”
By this point I’m half way up the stairs to the platform. He’s at the bottom, calling me a fucking liar and a coward and telling me to come back.
And I’m laughing – clearly very stressed with the situation, and therefore childish – and shout another mocking “six litre engine!” in a mock geezer voice.
I then turn and walk up the stairs and all the way to the other end of the platform, half expecting him to follow.
The second memorable thing of the day is the opposite of angry confrontation. It is my first ever improv lesson. In a room full of comedy aficionados, confidence builders, introverts and comms people, I learn that improv is mainly about giving, and not worrying too much about what you dredge up in the moment from the recesses of your soul. And not trying to be funny.
Let’s see how it goes over the next six weeks…
* Here’s three of them: I saw graduates in mortar boards massing in the royal festival hall. I joined a political party. I wrote a sketch about JK Rowling insisting the new Harry Potter movie be vividly pornographic. These three things are not related.