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Dreadful Nonsense

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

I was queuing at a cash machine at the top of the high street a couple of weekends ago, and, it being London, there was a homeless man sitting directly beside the cash machine, cap out in front of him and huddled up against the cold, asking each person, as they reached the machine, for some spare change.

This particular man, however, seemed to have been slightly under the influence of some kind of substance, and in my limited experience on this matters, I'm guessing that the substance he had imbued was slightly illegal.

There were still two people ahead of my in the queue when he suddenly jumped up from his huddled position and started telling to two girls behind me, who were having a perfectly reasonable conversation about shoes or ponies or babies or something, to shut up. "Shut up!" he yelled, "nobody can hear me if you keep talking!" They looked startled, and almost immediately then turned back to each other and resumed the conversation, as if being heckled in a queue was a regular part of their life.

"Be quiet!" he yelled again, "stop talking! Stop it!"

"Now," he declared, turning to the rest of us once the girls had momentarily stopped again, "can everybody hear me clearly?"

We all looked around, at our feet, across the road, anywhere other than in his direction. This didn't see to concern him. At this point I was at the front of the queue, and started to take out my money, worried that at any moment he would notice and start speaking directly to me. He hadn't, however, yet finished with the chatty ladies.

"You two! Can you hear me?"

They looked at each other and then looked at him, and didn't respond.

I took my money and walked away.

Last night, running slightly on my way to the pub, I passed the same man on a different part of the street. As I passed, he held his arms out as if to hug me and started laughing. "I LOVE YOU!" he yelled.


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