Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Things I will not miss..
It is 2am and I am standing by a bus stop in Shepherd’s Bush, blind without glasses, crippled by high heels and with a mobile phone that has just given up on life. I am considering joining it.
With me is ‘Al’ an elderly Cuban trumpet player I have just met who has been to a late-night dance class and is almost as lost and confused as I am. Despite his creepy flirtatious tone, I am not telling him to sling his hook because I am reliant on his eyes to read the bus stop signs for me (his cataracts beat my stigmatism). Still, I would rather be stuck with an amorous trumpet player as my guide than a crack-head gangster.
I am not sure if it is a London thing. There is a possibility it could be an age thing. But when I am asked if I had a good night out, these days my answer begins with a blow by blow account of the horrors of the journey home. The lovely time I had before gets diluted with tales of tube engineering works, rerouted night buses, unaffordable taxis and the bizarre cast of character met along the way.
A first round of farewell drinks in Soho seemed like an excellent idea. A central-ish point for people to meet, then jump on the last tube home and be safe in bed within 40 minutes with a box of ibuprofen and a pint of strong orange squash. Instead I am dodging snaking rivers of p*** trickling down the pavement, watching girls with chubby thighs squeezed into tiny shorts throw fried chicken at each other, and gently explaining why the small matter of a 40-year age gap, me having a boyfriend and my imminent move to the north means, no, meeting for a drink would not be a great idea... but where can I get the next N207 bus from?
It takes me three hours to get back to Ealing. I take comfort from the fact my emergency trainers are still stashed under a bush on the Common, where I hid them before heading to Soho in my ridiculous heels, staggering like a newborn foal. I gratefully shuffle the final stretch of my journey home.