Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wednesday 6 October | Exercise 10 - observation

A man in a cheap pinstripe, hunched over a cheese and pesto toasty, keeps delivering "good ol' boy" slaps to his lunch partner who, smiles weakly each time and can't stop himself glancing at his shoulder to check for greasy fingerprints left on his leather jacket.
He's as balding, brutish as his nervous companion is badger, grey handsome.

There's a generous 10 years difference between them but the do have some things clearly in common. They've chosen the same toastie for a start and they both have a black spiral bound note book, shoved awkwardly out of the way on the too small table. The younger one is clutching his coffee cup like a mug of builders tea, he is clearly more used to work boots and torn tee shirts than his ill fitting suit. The older man is much closer to his builders roots in his leather jacket and high waisted jeans. They are both wearing slip-ons.

Both men are too big for the cafe table, they look out of place wielding the little cups and dainty triangles of melted cheese on toast.

They're both wearing wedding rings although the younger's is small and pushed near to his nuckle. My granny always used to say "if it's near the knuckle, then he'll surely buckle".  I think she meant he's more likely to stray, alhtough I have no idea where she got this home spun truth from, like most things my old granny used to say she probably made it up on the spot to chastise some chap she suspected of playing away...

She and my grandfather were both great story tellers and neither of them would trouble to let the truth get in the way of a good tale. For instance I believed my grandfather was a Canadian cowboy for years. My only evidence was a shiny red electric guitar that I never saw  him play and his 'cowboy' hat which he wore in the garden when he was tending to his little veggie plot. I later found out that he won the guitar in a bet he'd bought the hat on holiday in Marbella...

The two men leave suddenly.

There's a tired, wash out mum over the road, trying to negotiate the pavement with two little scooters. The ones designed for really little kids, with robust plastic platforms that make them stable but cumbersome. She has tripped over herself twice - ther are no kids in tow. Maybe she's lost them. Her dirty blonde hair needs a retouch and her horizontal blue and white striped tee wasn't a great idea in the circumstances.

I feel bitchy towards this stripey t.shirted woman with two scooters and no kids. I have no idea why.

A gaggle of workers from the prison walk by in regularion flat shoes and black trousers and they all have a small leather holster attached to a chain that runs to a side pocket in their slacks. I wonder what that holster contain. Keys maybe? too big. A stun gun perhaps? Hardly likely that all prison workers would be given a weapon as standard issue. Whatever it is they all have one. The uniformed prison guards and the less formally dressed women in coloured jumpers.

It occurs to me that there are a lot of creased, grubby, ill fitting suits in the world - maybe not in Italy but definitely in the rest of Europe and particularly in the UK. We are decidedly, willfully ungroomed.

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