Tuesday, 8 September 2009
In this strangely balmy weather (I was extremely proud of my boss-dodging on the journey and - especially - arrival at Crewe for today's meeting, but turned up only 5 minutes behind him, sweating like a rapist, and was forced to bury my head in the sodding spreadsheet for about half an hour before I had managed to control my mortification enough to stop perspiring madly) I am considering pulling out Old Faithful again tomorrow.
As I sat on the sweltering 91 on the way home (at 8 o'clock, FFS!) observing the movements of the roads around me, my mind wandered back to a strange incident.
It was many years ago, when I was, for mostly economic reasons, a year-round cyclist. I can't remember why I was there; I only know that I wasn't returning from work, and that it was early afternoon; but I was riding north on Hampstead Road, on the stretch just before the 'Craven A' [I realise that this is wrong, but I will always think of them as 'Craven A' cats. Can't help it] cats factory (now a gym equipment company's HQ, I believe) when I saw a businessman, complete with briefcase, walking along. He was noticeable by the fact that he was mouthing invective to himself as he walked. I cycled along the road - enjoying the ride, as it were - giving him only a cursory glance.
Suddenly, and without any warning, he launched a huge gob at me, which flopped on the road just ahead of my front wheel. I was shocked, and didn't really take in what had happened at first, but I quickly began to feel angry. Anyone who knows me will testify that I never hesitate to avoid confrontation, but this time my dander was up! I whacked my handlebars with the spongy bits on my cycling gloves, and - gritting my teeth - turned the machine around before pedalling furiously towards my antagonist.
As I approached, I raised my voice and shouted 'Oi!' towards him.
He froze in his tracks and turned to face me, briefcase swinging loosely by his side. He reminded me of someone, and my courage began to falter. Ever so slightly. I stood up on the pedals and wagged my finger at him, saying:
"What the fuck d'ya think you were doing? I didn't do anything! There's no need to spit!"
He said nothing, but grinned at me manically. As I approached him, he suddenly swung his briefcase towards me, and then swung it back to try again. He yelled:
and started laughing. At that, I began pedalling quickly back in the direction I had come from whilst almost muttering, only a little bit louder:
"You're a nutter, mate. Off yer 'ead..."
And the moral of the story is...