Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A tale of two Es

The other day I went back to Canary Wharf, E14, to sign the final bit of "Goodbye" documentation. What an extraordinary place, did I really work here? In shorts and flip-flops, and with two children in tow, I was rendered miraculously invisible to the average Wharfer, and so was able to peer, unobserved, into their world, which used to be mine. Tall, blonde, athletic-looking men with swished-back hair talked a variant of Scandinavian at each other as they walked briskly by, no doubt it was highly highly important. A smartly dressed and very pretty lady clutched a three foot tall latte. A man marched by attempting simultaeneously to type on a Blackberry. The over-riding impression was one of a lack of time. Everyone seemed in a massive hurry. I knew my new life wasn't quite as pacy as before, but have I slowed down so much that it becomes that marked?

This scene contrasts sharply with Leytonstone, E11, today. As I walked to the Post Office, I passed a pub with some tables on the pavement. At one of these tables lounged a tatooed teenage bint, who, as I approached, took a large swig of lager, lit a fag, and then sauntered ahead of me to the Post Office. Laden with child, packages, and an additional 12-15 years, I ended up behind her in the queue. She proceeded to draw her benefits, in tens, and was back in the sun enjoying the remainder of her pint and a new cigarette by the time I passed by on my way back to the car. She didn't seem in too much of a hurry.

I have no point to make really, just that people adjust to whatever circumstances they find themselves in. I'd like to think I was never really one of the Canary Wharf crowd, but probably to an onlooker I would have appeared just like the people I saw the other day. Neither would I like to think that I have anything at all in common with the wastrel I saw today, but there are certain parallels. I haven't yet started boozing it up in the afternoons at the taxpayers' expense, but there are sunny days where I accomplish virtually nothing other than staring at the sky. Not today though. Today was a day of high achievement. Sainsburys, Beckton. The Biscuit Aisle, and a revelation:

Over the course of a year, the savings could be substantial. This packet also has "Scilly '09" written all over it.

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