Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Sympathetic Face

There is a scene in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that came to mind last night as I made my way home from the gaming night in Central London. It had been a good evening at the pub. I played two new games, both of which I failed to win (second place on one of them, third on the other) and I was late leaving for my train.

The last train that connected to my train home came as I was entering the station so I ran down the platform at London Bridge station to make the train. I sat down in the train and made a note in my PDA to record the money that I had spent in the pub when the gentleman sitting across the aisle from me said something I almost completely failed to catch.

"Excuse me?" I said looking-up from Pocket Quicken for a moment.

"I've never seen anyone take their glasses off to use their computer." he repeated "I put mine on to see."

What ensued was a discussion (mostly on his part) as to how he was an investment banker who was having a rough day because his firm was being sold to an American firm. From his descriptions of the day he had had, it was a pretty rough one! He moved-over to my side of the train during his monologue and it became apparent that after his day he had stopped off in one of the pubs that ring London Bridge station for a pint or three. It was more or less at this point that I was reminded of that scene that goes something like this:

Arthur Dent: "Why is it that everyone I meet wants to tell me their life story?"
Birdman of Brontitol: "Well, my man, you have such a sympathetic face."

Perhaps that is it! If not, then I have no idea why people seem to have this compulsion to come up to me and talk! Strangers, just seem to come up to me in the streets and talk to me. I'm fairly certain that this is not a universal thing. Most of my mates here, when I talk to them, say that this sort of thing never happens to them.

But there I was, on the train to Waterloo East being treated to the story of how this drunk banker had issues at home and at work. What could I do? I couldn't just ignore him. (I know this... I tried for a short while.) We parted at the station, he wished me a good life and we went our separate ways.

That is until he sat down next to me on my train to Surbiton! I was then treated to a twenty-minute reprise of the last train trip. This time, however, there was a new verse to the old song. This one was why the Sarbanes-Oxley laws are no longer necessary!

Oh well, I did my public service. To all of the rest of the passengers on last night's late train from London Waterloo to Surbiton: "You're Welcome! You were spared the gin-soaked soliloquy." All I can say is I hope my banker friend from the train last night is having a better day today than yesterday!I hope that wherever you are this morning you are having a great day too!

Don Bergquist - 21 September 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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