what does it cost?
London, all weekend. Work is finished quickly and then friends and drugs are everywhere. I find myself Monday morning, the morning I’m to get a train, meandering the streets of the North West of the postcode around 4 in the morning as I aim roughly towards the hotel and away from the Australian mans house I’ve just left after doing MDMA and kissing his sister. London wakes slowly, rising to birds (the noisy cunts) and the first of many buses. All for now is peaceful. No trains or people spare the odd body, too far away to connect with. Had they approached they’d have met a well dressed man with nothing but lovely things in his head, still tickled that he’d accidentally stumbled upon Abbey Road without looking for it and had toyed with the idea of walking to the correct Zebra crossing. Instead he looked at the one he was faced with and felt a tinge of sadness for it. I understood that the Beatles crossed the one near the studio but there was nothing wrong with this one was there? Why should he feel left out? I gave him respect and held my own miniature reconstruction crossing him four times, taking my shoes off for the Lennon run and filming the entire process. It was at this point I laughed, lit a cigarette and felt all warm and happy knowing that it was the effects of the drug.
The journey was otherwise uneventful. I arrived at the hotel, stayed awake for breakfast, prepared some ‘treats’ with the remaining MDMA and rizla’s I had on me for the train, showered again and left. Safe in the knowledge I am returning to London again, incredibly shortly. To work and then, once that job is done, to stay.
I am one of those that likes the place. Not everyone does, this is a given and unless you’ve been there for a period you may not see the issue with the City, just the romanticism. The reason people grow tired of the place will differ vastly depending on who you ask but I’ve heard the common complaint. “London is very cold. Not the temperature, the people.” The common complaint, has a strong point.
I’m sat at the station, I haven’t slept. I’m admiring a fine blonde girls even finer bottom. She is young and staring up at the boards for her train. She looks like the sort of person who does drugs. I’m on them. Getting her number is rather a formality. To my joy (hidden, never appear too eager) she’s getting a train where I am, unfortunately it’s an earlier departure. I shall be enjoying a night with her either Wednesday or Thursday depending on the outcome of ongoing plans with another girl. We laugh, we flirt, she’s looking forward to seeing me, she leaves. I’ve found a seat and this is where the cold sets in. The argument I have with the critics is I believe the syndrome to be universal and not confined to London. I say this because in a sea of people, from all over the UK, from several countries, not one of them stood to give an old lady a seat…apart from me.
I don’t claim this because I want your respect nor do I offer it as knowledge because I believe it to have been a big sacrifice on my behalf. You may think it was simply amphetamine but I would always offer my seat. The drug wasn’t stopping me harbouring real disgust for the folks who didn’t stand so reasonably it could be wearing off. Must bomb one when the train arrives. The old lady had walked up to three men, asking them if they knew where she had to go. They all ignored her or brushed her off with haste, I know they weren’t staff but a question jarred in my mind. Would it really cost them to be nice? She looked tired, a clear testament to the multi-leveled nature of the underground, she caught my eye just as I was standing to call her over. A man, around 20, tried instantly to snatch my seat I told him “no” in a firm voice and then gave it to her. She asked if I knew where her train was, I told her to stay where she was, look after my bag and I went off to find out for her. When I returned many had dashed off to get there train and so I sat with her.
She was 85, a widow for less than a year and had never travelled alone before. Her husband and her had married during the war, he flew planes. They had four children all boys, two now live in Germany, one near her and one in Turkey. They have children, she has seven grandchildren, boys again, the youngest is 25, or there abouts, the eldest is 42. She has great grand children, she didn’t want to think or at least confess to how many and the eldest is 15 weeks pregnant with twins. She’s about to have two great great grand children. All of them boys. All sharing her husband’s surname. “Guppy”. A large family of little guppies…you couldn’t make it up. She was going to see friends for a week. There was no point in moping around she said. She was worried that she’d stay in her house and do nothing, her husband used to organise the travel arrangements. So she’s doing it, getting out there and seeing everyone. What a lovely person. I gave her the biggest hug. I felt a morsel of sadness for her living with what I feared was very little independence from her husband and immediately thought of my mother. she got a phone call from me shortly after.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just fascinated by people and want to know all about you. Maybe I’m just filling time between my train, texting the blonde girl, awaiting my come-down and finally sleeping. Maybe I have this horrid urge to be overtly lovely and help people. I don’t know but whatever it is I don’t get why taking a moment to inconvenience yourself by helping someone else, a stranger no less should cost you so much. Was ignoring her going to help those other people get home any quicker? Or make them miss their train? She was this lovely old lady, asking for a little help in her first splurge of independence, would you deny a child that help? Or if it were a fully grown adult, it takes a fucking second.
The old ladies train comes over the tannoy, I grab my bags and walk her to her platform as far as I can and she thanks me. I go back to my chair, it’s long been claimed and I confine myself to a spot standing there looking up. I get a tap on the shoulder. She’s brunette, stunning brown eyes, olive skinned and breath-takingly beautiful.
"That was really lovely of you" she says smiling at me, showing off some quite perfect dimples.
"Was it? I guess so." I say, not with a hint of agenda just feeling fuzzy from the drugs.
"Would you…would you like to have dinner some time?" She’s forward, she’s already got her card out. "It’s crazy I know, I never do this but you seem…nice"
What does it cost? A bit of your time? It got me a woman’s number.