Something Odd Happens.
Tuesday evening. I’m on my way home from work but will be getting off the bus a few stops early to visit a hideous shopping centre to buy a cheap DVD player to replace the one that done broke and that. It’s a massive inconvenience and I’m tired.
I move toward the doors of the bus as it approaches the shopping-centre. Someone places their hand on my arm.
I don’t like people touching me at the best of times and this is the last place I expect such unwarranted intimacy. I flinch, jerk my arm away and stop just short of punching Captain Touchy square in the face.
Vaguely Familiar Woman: Hi!
The bus has stopped and we go through the rigmarole of getting off, entering the hideous shopping emporium and side-stepping all the old people and ‘wheelchairs’ that always hold-up the normal pedestrian traffic in such places.
It’s all a bit disorientating and I’d already retreated into a private mental-place as I usually do when visiting this awful citadel-of-hatefulness so I now have to unexpectedly ‘snap out of it’.
VFW: [Beaming at me like I’ve known her for years despite my only slightly recognising her from somewhere or other] So! What you doing?
Me: Ah. DVD. Ehm. I mean. It broke. [Clears throat and pulls self together. Still a bit rattled about all the ‘touching’ business] I need to buy a new [actually, WHO THE FUCK IS THIS WOMAN?] DVD player, I had a box-set delivered and I’ve not been able to watch it – bit frustrating – so I’m ahhh…
VFW: [Astonishingly not losing interest] Ok. Well I just need to pick up some things from Boots The Chemists then I can give you a lift home.
Me: [Glancing behind me at the bus station] Urrr..
VFW: Oh I park the car here and get the bus to and from town.
VFW: Currys would be best. Or Argos. [Proceeds to give me in-depth directions ‘in case you get lost’ as I probably would]
VFW: I’ll just drop you a text when I’m done in Boots yeah?
Me: [Still massively befuddled. Who the fuck is this person? She does look familiar. And is quite pretty] Yeah.
I’ve said ‘yeah’ purely to end the conversation without really thinking about the consequences
VFW: What’s your number?
I see what she’s done now. And I’ve already said ‘yeah’. So I can’t not give her my number. And of course I now have to give her my name. Because it would now be ‘silly’ not to. She’s good.
Forty minutes later.
We’re now in her car approaching my street.
Me: Anywhere here is fine.
It’s far enough away from my house for her not to know exactly where I live. She stops the car, after a twenty minute journey during which she has acquired my life-story after a asking a few simple questions and making me feel so awkward that I cannot stop talking.
Me: Ah. So. Thanks for this. I must owe you a drink or something.
That’s something you just say isn’t it? No-one takes that as a commitment surely?
VFW: This Friday or Saturday. Either are good.
Me: [Oh, I’m wrong] Ahhh. Ehm. Ok then.
I get out of her car, dragging my new DVD player with me, and let myself into my empty house and look at my reflection in the mirror. I look haggard, confused and startled.
Me: [To my own reflection] What the fuck just happened?