Who Would Have Known?

After 21 years one incident made me realise not everyone is as tall as me.

 

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The soles of her feet couldn’t touch the floor unless she moved forward in her seat. I had never considered that before in my life. Now I know.

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Zendaya On The Tube

If you didn’t know this already I have a unique fascination for celebrities close to my age, none more so than for the young lady in the title. You should bear in mind there are only three occasions I’ve ever gone full fangirl:

  • Agueroooooooooo!
  • Messi scoring past Edwin van der Sar
  • Meeting Will Smith

I thought that would be all… unfortunately I was wrong. When I saw her on the tube my eyeballs nearly exploded out of their sockets. I’m not proud of what I did next. I went berserk I tell you. Berserk!

ZENDAYA! (In the most rural most excited Shona accent I have within me.) It’s Zendaya!

I did this while shaking the person seated next to me. Perhaps if said person were a stranger I could let it go. It wasn’t a stranger – the person won’t ever let it go. Why? Because Zendaya… wasn’t actually Zendaya. 😅 She just looked an awful lot like her. That’s what I’ve been told. Deep down though I truly wish and feel that it was her. Nah, who am I kidding.

Next time I’ll say actually say hi as opposed to the overly embarrassing behaviour I exhibited.

P.S. the events in this retelling may have been embellished for comedic effect.

Weird Game #1

Weird games. They’re weird right? Not hard to assume considering it’s in the name. Unfortunately my mind is capable of coming up with such oddities. Furthermore, my mind insists on me being an active player of these games. Here is the first… of many.

You want to know why I walk quickly? The first reason is I have longer-than-average legs. The second is that I’ve spent some time in London where at any given time most people will be in a rush, especially in tube stations. But the number one reason is this weird mental game I play.

At each street crossing I imagine that once I step foot on the tarmac, two cars, from both directions, are trying to make a Joe-meets-tarmac pancake. Stepping back is not an option as the path behind me has fallen away into oblivion. The only way forward is… well, forward. However, my legs are in iron braces, so I cannot run. What to do now? Walk baby! Walk like the wind!

It’s quite a comical sight. My mind doesn’t even have the decency to only suggest it at night. It brings such thoughts up in brought daylight. It won’t even be a suggestion! It has simply become an order my body follows at every street crossing. It wouldn’t be a weird game without awkward consequences now would it?

You’ll see me gliding across the street as I walk. If Google says walking to said destination should take me an hour, I’ll get there in two-thirds that. Why? All to avoid the awkward gawking directed towards someone who will walk like a normal person before the intersection only to act like a man on fire after it.

Content

I was on my way to work when I overheard this lady say something just behind me. I’ve been mulling it over ever since and have decided to share it as a form of “food for thought”.

I have no idea what the context was but here is what she said:

It is what it is, you know. I can’t expect to be content every day. It’s just not realistic.

Do you agree? What do you think and why?

A Smashing Night

Conversation via Facebook one day after party.

Boy: It was nice getting to know you… till you absolutely crashed that is 😂

Girl: Hahahaha life! ❤ It was nice to meet you too… any chance you know where my phone went?

Boy: LOL! I mean… oh no! Sorry I have no idea where it went. Hopefully it’s still got battery. What’s your number?

Girl: Haha! Unfortunately I don’t know my number 😦

Boy: What… oh I was only asking so I could call your phone and see if anyone would answer. (basically implying: I didn’t mean, “What’s your number?” like that.) Hopefully you didn’t throw it at the party-goers downstairs 😂

Girl: People have tried calling my phone haha… I know we were a bit high up. Wait… did I try and jump?

Boy: Several times! We had to hold you back – you animal.

Girl: OMG!

Boy: 😂

Girl: What else did I do?

Boy: Well for one thing your timing was always superb. Just after joking about your life being a wreck you crashed to the floor literally a second after finishing your sentence. There was also flower pot, key word being was, till you got your hands on it.

Girl: OMG! Why? That’s crazy.

Boy: Hahahaha yeah. That was only the tip of the iceberg.

Girl: Wait there’s more?

Boy: Oh yeah! You did this weird thing where you sort of crouched down like you were doing squats using your behind to balance on every sturdy object. You did so on every wall, the fridge, the radiator… it was kind of like you were marking your territory.

Girl: Ahahahaha I can’t.

Boy: The more you drank the more easily distracted you were. I barely got two words out of you before you disappeared to mark new territory somewhere out of sight. XD

Girl: Ahahahaha OMG! As long as I was still nice.

Boy: Your irises were all black. Your pupils were that dilated. Looking into your eyes was like staring into your soul.

(Aside: This makes me wonder, does this guy even know how to pull punches? Also is he implying that the girl has a black soul?)

But you were friendly and your loco self was adorable xD

(Ah so he CAN pull punches)

Girl: Did I do drugs?

Boy: Alcohol is a drug so technically, yes you did. But in the context of what you mean, no, I don’t think so. To be honest if you weren’t so friendly tempers may have flared.

Girl: I’m glad it wasn’t too awful then.

Boy: I did laugh my ass off though, so good first meeting. Stay safe.

Girl: Ahahahaha you too!

 

PS: I still need to practise fleshing out my female characters so I’ll be doing a lot of reading now. As well as actually talking to girls *gulp*

Slow To Anger Quick To Apologise

I’ll keep this one short.

The tube. A truly magnificent place. No? You disagree? Well one can’t deny it’s effectiveness. I was using the tube to get to Angel Station yesterday evening. Spiderman: Homecoming was only showing at their Vue cinema, the others had called it quits for the night. In typical London fashion people were rushing even though it was past ten in the evening. Several of them were in a rush. When people are in a rush tempers are quick to flare… most of the time. This was one of those times.

I myself was in a bit of a hurry. It was very wet, the first time it had been this wet in quite a while in the London summer. A brief respite to the heat was more than welcome… except this was more than brief. It rained for 24 hours straight. I’d treaded through this rain without an umbrella because in my head I’m some kind of power ranger I guess. Anyway I was in a rush and I moved about the tube as I typically do. Wherever there are steps I will climb them, be it on an escalator or as an alternative to the elevator. I’ve actually always been one to fancy a race with the elevator. With this mindset I moved about Angel Station as I typically do. People usually are in a rush and I am usually a tad faster than they are… Only yesterday I wasn’t. This one guy moved a lot quicker than me. I had no idea what he was heading towards.

Let’s call this stranger John. John stepped on my heel as he tried to overtake me. To be honest it took me slightly by surprise but I didn’t react adversely towards the action. I ignored it and soon noticed in John’s body language that he had acknowledged what he had done. It was eating him up. Proof of that came when a couple of seconds later he doubled back and apologised very softly saying he hadn’t meant to do what he had done and he was sorry. Pleasantly surprised I tapped him on the elbow and said, “It’s all good man, don’t worry about it.” I let it go. John continued on his way up to the next escalator where he walked up a few steps then stopped.

Normally I walk up the escalator steps but in the current situation that would mean encountering John again, John who looked troubled as well as remorseful. He even looked back and met me in the eye. I could tell that he was considering walking up the rest of the steps to remove himself from the place as soon as possible but for some reason decided against it. So as not to fuel his obvious guilt or cause an awkward moment I decided to let the escalator do the moving and stayed in place a few steps behind him. This would be a peaceful night… that’s what I thought at least.

A hulking figure, let’s call him Pete, seemed to be in a bigger hurry than the rest of us. He came bumbling up the escalator like a mad bull. His right shoulder clipped John in the face and he barely turned back, although looking at his body language the impact had registered in his mind but he decided he wouldn’t own up to it and chose to continue running up the steps instead. Now… John was furious. I honestly don’t know what was going on in his life but John was clearly distressed for some reason. Even as he had been standing on the escalator he seemed to be contemplating his life. He was far above the rest of us so he can be forgiven for standing in the middle of the step (standing in the middle is normally frowned upon, you should stand on the right and climb up the left). It’s not often that someone runs up the escalator like I tend to do, or Pete chose to do on this occasion but it happened – and John paid for it. Unfortunately he didn’t like what he was paying for.

John wasn’t scrawny by any means. He had a tough gangster look about him, the kind belonging to someone raised in a tough neighbourhood. But Pete looked like someone who slept in the gym. Either way, an enraged John chased after Pete hurling a barrage of obscenities at him. Pete looked back at John then continued his trek up the escalator, hoping to run away as he had done initially… but John was quick, quicker than Pete even and caught up to him near the very top. They exchanged blows. I half feared one of them would come tumbling down the long escalator. But they moved to the ticket platform and began to shout unintelligibly while Pete held his chest out trying to intimidate with his soft voice… I don’t know what happened next.

Perhaps I should have stayed and played peacemaker. That was my thought in retrospect, a minute after I’d walked away. I had Spiderman in mind and I wasn’t about to be embroil myself in something that could involve the police, not in this foreign country. “Security will handle it,” I thought. Yet the guilt still followed me. Of all the people in that station the best person to defuse the situation was me. All I needed to say was:

“Hey John remember when you stepped on my heel not to long ago? I forgave you when you apologised. Hey Pete, just say sorry to the man. I saw you bump into him and not give him a second thought. Just apologise and let it be over. Nobody wants the police involved.”

Even enraged sense would have prevailed, at least in my mind it would have but thinking about it a minute after you’ve walked away isn’t good enough. I guess if these guys had been slow to anger and quick to apologise they would have gone home with far fewer bruises and a lot more joy than they eventually did go home with.

Inspired

It’s 21:33 as I write this in my room. I hear a train bouncing along train-tracks not too far away. Sweet music interspersed with footsteps somewhere down below. The singer has a male voice, not too incredible but soulful, passionate; more than enough to draw one’s attention… more than enough to make one wish to be musically gifted. Do you ever feel the same? Whenever I come into contact with someone displaying their talent I go through these 3 phases:

  1. I am awed.
  2. I appreciate them via word of mouth or internally.
  3. I become inspired.

That third bit is what I am going to talk about today.

Inspiration, motivation, stimulation, catalysis. My nerves just light up like fireworks whenever I hear that perfect score in a movie *note SpiderMan (Raimi) and Unlimited Blade Works*. I can feel the goosebumps crawl up my skin whenever I hear that pitch perfect voice. My pulse races when I reach the climax of that 1000+ paged fantasy novel I randomly picked up somewhere, or witness Lionel Messi score the winning goal in El Clasico. There’s just something about talented people working that energizes me… and I love it!

I become a different person when I’m inspired, in my opinion a better person as well. I would strongly disagree with anyone who claims that I have an inferiority complex, quite the opposite I’m afraid, but I would understand the sentiment. I often do walk down the street thinking I’m not good enough. That’s because in my mind I’ve set this incredibly high bar of moments where I have felt magnificent, of a character whose personality embodies the very best of all of my traits. When I’m inspired I push this character through the monotonic self I sometimes clothe myself with. For example:

Someone: Hey how are you today?

Me: I’m good. How are you?

While you may see nothing wrong with that exchange inspired me would be absolutely appalled. Inspired me is instantly suave, honest, jovial, comedic, witty, compassionate, bold and a lot more. He refuses mediocrity and would rather be shut in a cell than be drab even for one second.

It’s crazy isn’t it? How watching something, listening to something can make one change their perspective so radically. It’s a sort of high that dies down with time but one I relish. This is why it’s important to note what you watch as well as what you listen to. Seeing someone do fantastic things makes me want to do everything to the best of my ability.

I watched Spiderman: Homecoming last night. It was raining and I would have missed the bus unless I ran for it. So I RAN. Inspired as I was I ran faster than at any point previously. I’ve never truly pushed myself on the track-field, why would I? My heart was never in it… But I ran for that bus and stressed every sinew to extend my stride. I could feel the thudding of my feet as they beat across the wet surface. I glided across the street and felt like how Bolt must have felt when he broke the record in Beijing ’08. I felt ecstatic, pulse-racing as I caught the bus. I was even content stepping out of it when I realised it was the right number bus but going in the wrong direction. Why? Because I was inspired.

Hot!

My clothes are dripping wet.

It is all sweat.

London – the latest desert.

 

I feel the heat.

I must repeat.

I feel the heat.

 

Sun’s bleak.

Socks reek.

Brows leak.

 

Boiling.

Blistering.

Scalding.

Hot!

 

It’s really hot in London right now, relatively speaking at least. I am sure you can tell from the contents of the piece above. I am not overjoyed by the quality but written in one go with the revision of one line I am quite content, for now.

It only came to me when I was on the second “stanza” but I decided to reduce the number of words (exception the second stanza as “the heat” and “repeat” are of equal length phonetically) with each new stanza to indicate decreasing thought capability as the day goes on.

It also rhymes and that makes me very happy.

 

The Time I Met Will Smith

So the title is clickbait… I never actually met Will Smith, not in the way you’re thinking. I guess encounter is a suitable replacement since it was short-lived. But if we’re going by an “encounter” that lasted a short while without any real personal exchange then yes, I’ve encountered the Fresh Prince before.

See I was a big fan, I still am, partially because I saw my future self in the present Will Smith. An eloquent guy who’s used his talents to the max. The guy has had his hand involved in music, sitcoms, movies as an actor, producer and writer. According to his page on Wikipedia: “He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally, and eight consecutive films in which he starred open at the number one spot in the domestic box office tally.” In short it’s easy to see why he’s so popular. I could go on and talk about his charm etc but I’m not one to praise any human too much, although I did hype myself up a lot in years past but that phase has passed.

Anyway to what you actually want to hear. On the 3rd (?) of August 2016 I waited in Leicester Square from around 7 AM for the London premiere of Suicide Squad. It was scheduled to start at around 1600 onwards but I didn’t know that at the time. I was there before the first of the construction workers/engineers arrived. Long before the security that gives out wristbands required for entry had woken up. I was really excited. I’d only found out about the damn thing the night before and would not miss out on the opportunity to encounter someone I’d looked up to for ages. So I waited, in my favourite, comfortable hoody and pants. I waited… until the moment came.

Soooooo I don’t know exactly how it happened but I found myself near the edge of one of the walkway in Leicester Square. The area was basically inaccessible for the ‘stars’ unless they chose to ride the raised platform. As a fan you think it’s a no-brainer that they’d do it. But in retrospect it makes sense that they wouldn’t dare try (especially the ladies in heels, it was a slick surface). So about 40 other people and I had to watch in horror as Margot Robbie, Cara Delevigne, Jared Leto, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and co walk by just an arm’s length away. If you had the audacity you could stretch over the railing and touch them but the security would be on you in a heartbeat and they seemed content, eager in fact, to guide the celebrities as far from our corner as possible. We were all devastated. You have to understand. Across the walkway, about 10 yards from where I stood, people were taking selfies and exchanging sly comments with the celebs and here we were – our throats aching from screaming their names, basically pleading for them to take a chance over the raised platform that was separating us from them. I even admit to starting a few chants like: “Cara Cara Cara”, “Margot Margot Margot” (and they were effective because the whole group joined in) but they were ultimately in vain. The chants caught their attention, they looked at us, they really did and their eyes did connect with our pleading ones but security had seen the ledge and adjudged that none of them would be allowed near our corner.

So I was very annoyed. Once you were positioned you weren’t allowed to change areas, because security. The people with me were one of the first to arrive yet we’d all been dealt the worst hand. EVERYONE else got a fair opportunity to take a selfie or have an autograph with a large number of stars. Everyone but us.  I felt awful (haha). But guess who came along? Yup. The Fresh Prince himself decided to be our hero. He looked at the ledge and at the small mass of people shouting his name and stepped over it like it was never there – then the screaming started.

I heard screeches, whoops, hollers and a lil’ ululation… that was all just from me by the way. Some of these were sounds I’d never made in my life! Now get this; I was and am a fan but I wouldn’t say I obsess or even think about Will on a monthly basis. But in that single moment I Lost. My. Mind. With all the shouting going on around me I joined in too. That’s when the realisation of the power of mass movement really hit me. Anyway the man stepped over the ledge, people went nuts and he started giving out his autograph. I was the wise guy that had neither pen nor paper and you’ll never guess what I said when he walked in front of me and looked me in the eye…

“Sign my face Will!”

I don’t know if you’ve seen that clip of Beyonce reacting with a look of shock when she’d looked down from the stage but Will shot me that same look. Surprise and maybe a little disgust? I don’t know he didn’t find it funny. It was unprompted from me, just a random  uncontrollable reaction but it was enough to spur him to move on. Those around me got their shirts and posters signed. I was also the first to ask for a selfie. The man noticed me again but elected to keep signing autographs. I think he really didn’t want to come into contact with people’s phones but he eventually gave in and guess what. He started taking selfies… but none with me.

I know… I know. Sad, right? But I actually wasn’t overly disappointed at the end of the day. It turned out to be one of those experiences that helped me cement the idea that celebrities may be awesome and all but the reverence we show them shouldn’t exist because underneath it all they’re just people like you and me. I mean sure, sing someone’s name and look up to them but don’t allow yourself to be obsessed with someone who couldn’t care less about knowing your name. I’m not saying this because that’s my opinion of Will Smith but this odd and kinda funny encounter helped me form this opinion and it’s one I’m sticking by.

I hope you enjoyed the read. Below is the link to the video one of the people that was there took. See if you can pick out which voice belongs to me: