The evil eye

No date to report on, I’m afraid – Triathlete couldn’t make Sunday in the end (there was mention of a business trip to Geneva Monday morning but I suspect he was just unhappy about having been allocated such a poor day of the week) so now we’ve rescheduled for next Saturday. I’m trying to work up something other than what I can only describe as ennui but am failing thus far.

The flirting project has gotten slightly out of control – I can’t seem to stop making eyes with everyone. As I wandered around Soho with my friend Tall Boy today I realized that he was watching me with hawk-eyed suspicion.

“I saw what you did in there,” he said as I collected my salad box from the kindly counter man. “I saw the look in that poor man’s eyes.”

“What?” I said, clutching the over-full container.

Later, when waiting for the lift, a couple of moving men pushed past us carrying a large desk.

“You’re incorrigible,” he said, shaking his head.

“What?! I didn’t even look at them!”

“Well, it seemed like you made eyes at that guy. At least I think he thought you were making eyes.

“You’re being paranoid,” I said, flicking a quick glance at the movers.

But he had a point – it’s like I’ve got flirting Tourette’s. And, unsurprisingly, sometimes it goes a bit awry.

The other night I was on my way home from a friend’s house and found myself chatting with a former sheep farmer from New Zealand whilst waiting at the bus stop. I was exhausted, he wasn’t attractive, and yet there I was, dutifully making small talk with this man rather than studiously avoiding eye contact and listening to my ipod.

“Ah,” I thought. “It’s harmless! Besides, these are the sort of random conversations that enhance the intricate quilt of life.”

When his bus pulled up, he asked for my number. I dithered in what I hoped was a clear “I’m not interested but am too polite to come out and say it” sort of way, but instead he took the dithering as “she’s interested but is just being a bit coy.” Amidst the dithering, the bus had pulled away without him.


My bus came fairly soon after and, despite the fact that it was heading in a completely different direction than his original bus, on he got.

“Isn’t this the wrong way for you?” I asked.

“I work for the transport system,” he replied matter-of-factly. “I can get home from anywhere in London.”

This seemed like flawed logic – surely the fact that he worked for London transport didn’t mean he had some sort of magical control over the bus system. In fact, I think you’ll find most people can get home from anywhere in London at any time of night – that is the sole purpose of said transport system.

So on we chatted, soldiering through a pointless debate on North vs South London (with him slipping in a vaguely racist comment about the Irish in an attempt to convince me that North was inferior to South) and at one point he referred to us being in the same generation despite the fact that he was CLEARLY a good 10 years older than me (unless those years herding sheep had really taken a toll on him).

“Yep,” I thought. “This is my life right now. Sitting on a bus and being mildly insulted by a racist former sheep farmer. How do I manage to get myself into these situations? These conversations are not what make up the rich tapestry of life; these are the conversations that make me want to swallow my own head.”

After an interminable journey, we finally arrived at my stop. I skipped off the bus and did what I should have done from the beginning – put my ipod in, put on my best scowl and stomped off home.

A lesson learned: it’s best to turn off your engine whilst idling at a bus stop.

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