Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Moments on a journey

The tube

I’ve always liked the way my reflection looks in the window of the tube as it rushes along the black tunnels. I like being indistinct, blurred, a shadow of a person looking back at me. I prefer this image than the all-seeing electric light, so easy to be critical under its harsh gaze. I like being the outsider looking in at the world. It makes me feel safe.

The wind

Why am I always the only one in the eye of a gale? Everyone else walks by sedately under their obedient umbrellas, their hair just so, their coats steady. I, meanwhile, battle my wilful umbrella from one side of the pavement to the other. It appears either determined to smack me in the face, turn inside out and rudely wave its underskirt in the street, or carry me off like Mary Poppins over the rooftops. ‘Let’s go fly a kite’ is all very well as long as I am not the kite. And my hair! Ye Gods – it wraps itself around my face like a scared child hanging onto its mothers legs while my coat acts as a rudderless sail, propelling me through the high street.

Logistics

“I’ll just hop on the Northern line and come and meet you after work! I’m at Goodge Street -- Oh, I’m the wrong branch of the Northern line? -- Can I go to Bank and change? – Bugger – Hm, so go to Tottenham Court Road, change at St Paul’s and walk across the bridge? – Bit of a trek -- Ah, the Jubilee line? – Where from - Bond Street? – Sounds a plan! Bye!”

Tottenham Court Road should be called Tottenham Caught Road given the amount of times charity workers stopped me. Charities – please heed me. This tactic does not make people love you.

Smile

Seeing friends is like coming home to a house straight out of Disney. Lovely people – especially when they cry ‘bottle of red’ and plunge into the nearest pub, the slick pavement glistening with spilled yellow light as the door closes behind us.

6 comments:

Rose said...

I can see why you're writing a novel, this reads so well. Tottenhm Caught Road made me laugh as did the bit about umbrellas. I gave up with them long ago except in the most torrential down pours. I only ever seem to get whipped or stabbed by the things.
I do covert a substanial umbrella from that shop near Covent Garden that sells ones with wooden handles. It's one of those on the list of when I am a grown up purchases.

musicobsessive said...

I agree with Rose - I really enjoyed reading this. So evocative!

The wind doesn't like me either. I seem to be the only one with my jacket flapped open and tie up over my shoulder. Perhaps we should form a club.

Aspiring Writer said...

Hello, What lovely prose. I'm new to your blog and as an aspiring writer myself I think I'm going to be visiting often. Good luck in your submission. I look forward to updates. Will come back and read more of your blog.

Jayne said...

Hello Rose! Thank you so much for your encouragement, it really is appreciated. I also often think in terms of 'when I'm a grown up' – I wonder at what age it all kicks in and I overnight turn elegant and graceful, as if by magic. The grown-up me would never be dragged off stage left by a crappy umbrella.

Jayne said...

Hello Martin! Glad you liked it, and thank you for always being so encouraging. My confidence ebbs and wanes with writing – until Good Things Happen it can be so difficult for me to believe I am actually ok at it. The ‘club’ comment did make me laugh – I think the wind makes everything I own act bizarrely – I noticed yesterday that my long coat kept unsuccessfully trying to rugby-tackle my legs.

Jayne said...

Hello (fellow) Aspiring Writer! Thank you for your kind comment, it really is appreciated. I think the submission looks more than likely to be in February now, as I still need to improve the first three chapters – it’s a never-ending quest for perfection, so it seems! Good luck with your novel as well!