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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

There is nothing more depressing than the last day of a holiday. Nothing. Nothing at all. Not famine, war, death, illness, depression itself - all of these things pale in to non-existence when compared to the last day of a holiday. A shadow is cast over all things, and the toil of travelling, whether by bus or plane or boat or camel or barge will only add to the knowledge that you're leaving behind what was once, for a brief shining moment, somewhere you could call the place that you were staying. Every jostle, every lugging of suitcase up and down stairs, every belligerent stranger deliberately tripping over your bags and giving you dirty looks is a metaphor for the pain of leaving behind the place that you'd been staying that wasn't where you lived but merely somewhere you were visiting for a bit. The tragedy is writ across your face in large capital letters - I WAS ONCE ON HOLIDAY, AND NOW I MUST RETURN HOME, TO WORK, TO FAMILY, TO REAL LIFE ONCE MORE.

I think this writing, writ largely across my face, must have been the reason why a man stood on the 149 bus from Islington all the way into Liverpool Street where I eventually got off the bus, and stared right at me. Without embarrassment, without turning his gaze away when I dared to meet it, and most importantly without blinking. He never stopped staring. Weirdly, he also never stopped staring at my face.

Now, I don't know if you realise, but it's winter time here on this side of the internet. In London particularly, it's winter. There's cold about, and it's cold. I was wearing many layers of clothing, mainly so that I was able to fit all of my new purchases in to my suitcase, but also because if you wear a lot of clothes, you don't feel the cold so much. With these clothes on, it's not easy but it's still possible to see that I am a lady, with a lady's boobs. I've had boobs now for over 14 years, and I'm more than used to gentlemen of a certain temperament staring at them, particularly in the summer months when they're more obvious, due to there being less clothing surrounding them, due to there being less cold surrounding them. This does not often bother me, unless the staring is rapidly followed by the groping, which must then only be answered with the slapping of the face and moving onward.

But this staring man, the 149 bus staring man, stared for what I think was at least 20 minutes without once diverting his gaze. Right at my face. All the journey. At first it was disturbing, and then for a mere second intriguing, and then it went right back round to disturbing again, having picked up a friend in unnerving and combined forces to become terrifying. The man, I was sure, was trying to work out if my head would fit on top of his Frankingstein-style collection of other body parts he'd already collected from other girls on the 149 bus.

Thankfully, he must have come to the conclusion that my quite small head wouldn't fit, because I got off the bus and he didn't, and all was safe and well and I got to go home with my own head.


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