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Dreadful Nonsense

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

I was walking down the road last night, leaving my quiet house and wandering down my quiet street, making my – I have to admit, relatively quiet – way to He Who Only…’s house, which is on a slightly busier and therefore a less quiet place to be. I like the quiet, and a break from the quiet makes the quiet that welcomes my return all the better. And so off I was going, on my quiet way, minding my own quiet business.

A few doors down from me, a young man was leaning on the wall standing inside his front garden, casually having a cigarette. I walked past. He said: “Hello”.

I nearly fell over.

I’ve gotten so used to people not speaking to each other in London – it is in fact one of the most agreeable things about living here – that I couldn’t quite understand what he was saying, and could see absolutely no motivated for this frankly unprovoked greeting. I remembered, in the back of my mind, that there was some protocol for this kind of situation. I kept walking, but mumbled a “Hello” back.

He kept talking to me.

“Do you live near here?”

I kept walking.

“Just down the road,” I returned, over my shoulder, not daring to look back lest we look each other in the eye.

“Maybe,” he said, having to raise his voice at this stage, because I was by then a good distance away, “I will see you again soon.”

I gave him a polite grin, which was completely wasted, as I was after all facing away from him. I may well have also shrugged.

And that, ladies and gentleman, was the first of the two times this week that a man has spoken to me for no reason in the street.


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