White trash September 19, 2008Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Google says I’m riff-raff. Spot on, of course, but you don’t expect computers to be quite so damned discerning. But maybe it can sense the HP Sauce stains on my shirt or smell the vinegar off my crisp-soiled fingers. All I wanted was to google something, like any sane and sober person, when it provided a very ugly screen, which they’ve enuglied especially to put us riff-raff in our place, telling me that I reminded them of a virus-creating robot and spyware-ridden ne’er-do-well and, frankly, a bit of a tosser. And I had to do word verification just to get things back to normal, as if I was posting a comment on some lovely blog. I was struggling to hold back tears as it was – imagine not being allowed access to google. Surely a far more severe punishment than the death penalty – but they thought they’d complete the humiliation. The word verification word was ‘sCUmbAg’. Honestly!
I’m on the island. Bloody hell. Lovely here, innit? The Russian and I have already had to exchange soul-searching SMSes. “Darling,” I might write. “London is the wickedest place on the planet. We should probably move here tomorrow.” But he has to go and spoil things and shatter delusions by introducing reality. “Vere I vill vörk? Vot I vill do? Deesh-vosher?” Which, combined with freshly-formed thoughts of bedsits and single-ringed hotplates and the western end of the Bakerloo Line, saw me removing my dunce’s cap and thinking the current set-up, where I am treated to fantastic but infrequent snippets of London, is perhaps not the worst thing in the world.
I accept I may not be the first to point this out but it’s worth repeating. My god. Isn’t London fan-fucking-tastic (pardon me tmesis)? A pal asked me what had changed since I was last here as normally there’s some obvious shift or other. Though this time nothing has leapt out. Well, there always appear to be new buildings around Canary Wharf but I can’t remember that skyline from one trip to the next. I wouldn’t notice fashion trends, though people seem well-presented and, though this could be to do with my own magnificent age and decrepitude, folk look in good shape. Perhaps slobbishness is out (though I put on a good couple of kilos a day from all the delicious sausages). “Hmm,” I said to the pal. “Well, of course it’s still 900 times more crowded and racier than Berlin, but maybe things don’t seem quite as hectic as normal.” But I must have hit some quiet blip as when I ended up at London Bridge station some hours later, I thought I might pass out from the excitement of so much movement. Bloody hell. Humans swarming this way and that. Crowds the likes of which Berlin only sees when American presidential candidates or the Love Parade come to town. And yet, to my touristy eye, the atmosphere seemed pleasant enough. I never felt I was only a hair’s breadth from a frustration-unleashed bloodbath.
And my mother has moved to beyond London’s borders. To betjemanian Metroland. Even London Underground staff look bewildered when I ask for a zones 1-9 travelcard. “Where ya goin’?” they ask, pouring scorn on my mental probity. Then their eyes roll with dollar signs as they ring up my bill, a one-way ticket costing, naturally, 700 pounds. Still, London is so magnificent that I have even resisted the urge to engage in the quick getting-a-dig-in-at-how-expensive-everything-is conversation with Londoners. How else are we riff-raff to be kept out, after all?
So here I sit, blogging on what feels like a boiling hot day, though the body may have reset itself to autumn, in my mother’s Metroland garden. A little splash o’ Reeocka to wash down my second go of sausages of the day. A 25-metre extension cable keeping me hooked up to the grid. And nothing to disrupt the idyll but the odd scratch of a squirrel and my mother’s pen dancing elegantly across the Daily Mirror crossword (and perhaps my testiness at having to give hints to, “Scottish River. Three letters. TA_”).
It’s a privilege to be here.