On 7 September 2015, I arrived in London, England to study Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths University of London. I took a taxi from Gatwick Airport to the New Cross Inn, where I would stay for 9 days before my accommodation was ready. It was just the beginning of my dream come true, and my life’s greatest adventures.
As I came out the red-painted steel door and walked up the stairs that led to the street above, I saw an Unknown Man standing outside the gate at the top of the stairs. He was looking at his cell phone with a worried expression.
“Hello,” I called out to him.
“Hello!” he said, with enthusiasm. He was clearly glad to see me.
“Do you live here?” I asked, knowing full well he didn’t. I suspected he didn’t know the code to open the gate.
“No,” he said. “I’m new security and I forgot the code.”
I decided to give him hell.
“I cannot let you enter without the code,” I told him. We stood face to face on opposite sides of the gate.
“I have the security phone,” he said, fumbling for a second cell phone, not the one I saw him use previously.
“Yes, but you don’t know the gate code,” I said. “That phone won’t grant you access.”
“That’s okay,” he said. “I’ll call and get the code from the office.”
I knew that he would get into trouble for forgetting the code so I asked, “Do you have a key card?” The key card allows access through the door.
He showed me his key card.
“If your key card works, I’ll tell you the gate code,” I said, and opened the gate from the inside.
He dashed down the stairs and flashed his key card to the door. It opened. I gave him the code.
He went away happy.
I went away amused.
Posted 17 October 2017
A Catford Tale
As I walked to the shop up the street, I passed a woman with her young son, and I couldn’t help but hear their conversation.
Mum: Did you play outside today?
Young boy: Yes.
Mum: In those shoes?!
Young boy: (pause) No.
In amused reverie, I continued onto the next street. At the pedestrian crossing, I dashed into the middle of the street (that’s just what you do in London when you want to cross the street in certain places and at certain hours) and waited for the traffic to clear. A handsome, well-dressed man in a fancy car stopped traffic to allow me to cross.
I smiled and waved to him and reached the other side. Continuing, I saw a card, the nine of clubs, on the pavement, and wondered if it had any significance. I took it home anyway.
Returning from the shop, I again dashed into the middle of the street and waited for traffic to subside. The same handsome, well-dressed man in the same fancy car stopped traffic for me again!
I guess I can still stop traffic much like in my youth.