Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Daily Grind

So, as you know, this little old geezer accosted me back in February '08 with an announcement that I was looking at him and that he didn't like people looking at him.

I hadn't been looking at him on the bus that morning, but I sure as eggs look at him every morning ever since! He uses the same bus stop as me in the morning and I always know at what point and at what distance he is from me.

Some research has provided a few details into who this fellah is. It seems he once sold charity gaming cards door to door in the area and was plagued by the attentions of children who (being children) used to get a rise out of him for the sake of being chased. I think he isn't the full shilling to begin with, but the story of the kids pestering him explains some of the more peculiar behaviour I've observed in him recently.

One morning as I hauled myself up the road on the way to another blessed day of being told by the telephoning public how useless I am, I spied yer man shuffling across the green area to my left. He dresses in a kind of shabby brown canvas jacket and is continually blowing his nose into a great white handkerchief, peering over it suspiciously through his black rimmed spectacles at anyone who might be about. He increased his pace on seeing me and walked ahead, shoulders in their customary hunch, his face down. Instead of turning left at the top of the road for the bus stop, he went right disappearing into the next line of semi-dees. He turned up about five minutes later at the stop. I figured he must have been calling into someone's house on the other road.

Then a few days after, I was a little later in leaving the house and saw him ahead of me, hunching along with his hands in his coat pockets. He stopped suddenly and stared straight ahead where a car on a school run had reversed out of a driveway a couple of houses up. He took two steps to the right and hid for a moment behind a hedge. The car paused halfway across the road as seatbelts and schoolbags and the usual morning chaos were sorted. He stepped out and seeing it was still there, stepped quickly back in again. When it pulled away he resumed his shuffle up the road, head lowered, handkerchief dabbing at his nose.

I saw him from afar another morning walking by the shop units in the local centre, heading for the bus. A schoolboy about twelve or thirteen years of age was coming in the opposite direction, not heeding him at all. Our fellow did a quick turn to the left to face into a shop front until the youngster passed by.

When the bus pulled in, he did his usual morning barge past everyone in the loose queue, flashed a pass at the driver and went up the bus slamming windows closed, keeping the outside world at bay.

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