A FELLOW PASSENGER
I met him on the Tube. The movement of the train rolled us together and his bag hit me. He damned the line, apologized to me, and we began to talk.
In response to my question he said he had plenty of work. Couldn't complain.
"Yes," he amplified, "we're very busy this year. It's a record for our company, that's what it is. First the freezing cold; then this 'Covid' thing; and now all these strengthening jobs__ fortifying, or whatever you call it."
"Fortifying?" I inquired.
"Yes," he replied. "Buttressing walls and all that sort of thing. We're being sent for all over the place to do that. Sometimes it's a ceiling that's given way; sometimes a floor with a hole in it; but often enough it's the very house. In Kensington chiefly, and Bayswater; but other parts, too. We're at it all the time. It's a n'epidemic, that's what it is."
"But," I said, "Surely this is very odd. I can understand measles and influenza and things like that being epidemic; but how can houses in different parts of London all begin suddenly to go wrong at the same time? That's surely very puzzling. What is your theory to the reason?"
"Well," he said, "I don't know much about these things, but they tell me it's the governments fault with all this exercising in front of the tele'. They have to jump in the air, they tell me, and don't come down for a couple of blooming minutes. And all these Kensington and Bayswater people are big folk; the buildings are not meant for that kind of activity. That's what I understand it is. I'm told that on still nights you can hear 'em crashing about in all directions, them buildings were meant for gentle folk. But of course I haven't seen these programs they are all trying to copy, it's not in my line exactly. All the same, 'keep it up' I say's. It's good enough for me to mend the damage they cause's. That's where me mates and me come in."
The train pulled into his station; he alighted raising his free hand.
"Good Day, my friend, stay safe as they say ! "
I watched him disappear down the crowded platform whistling a familiar tune, I was still smiling when I reached the office, it was the start of a good day.
Thanks for stopping by.