Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Gear grinding

Who grinds your gears? This classic Seth question I shall answer for you. The answer is not one person either it is many. The Metro newspaper was part of my daily routine for a while, I'd pick one up when I saw one but I could take it or leave it. My happiness in no way hinged on it greeting me every day at the station, music and books were my entertainment of choice. Over night two new free publications entered my sphere. I'm sure you are acquainted with The London Paper and the London Lite. The disclaimer comes at this stage in my rant. I quite like picking these up every now and again and they have saved some battery low journeys in the past for sure. This is not aimed at the papers themselves in any way but notice that in that last sentence it was picking them up that I quite liked.
Finding them on the train which is a given anyway requires nothing of you, they are more enticing that way. Picking it up becomes your idea. Maybe I'll read the paper-choice. The free paper epidemic comes with a price however and it seems that the people distributing these pages are trying to take my choice away until today I felt I was left with none. Every time I travel home at rush hour I curse myself for forgetting how bad it is. I'm claiming mild Agorophobia as it is. Key to traveling at this time is predicting gaps in the sea of moving bodies at the stations mouth. Today I felt I was doing well, Dan and I had weaved our way through Leicester Square madness, throngs of theatre goers and outdoor pub folk. Shortly after this we encountered the first nuisance. This is my gripe. One particular London Lite busybody positions himself cunningly on a corner I have to round each time I wish to travel home at a respectable hour. The man is not there providing a service, he is a murder weapon away from being an assailant. First up the thrust, this I counter by sidestepping but the dance begins. Paper and distributor move a step into my space, they are the free news blockade. Frustrated always at this point I hold a hand up. Step off, no free news for me buddy. Tempted to take the paper as it is the only known hassle off switch I resist knowing it will only carry on once I pass. If only this were an isolated incident, I have been accosted everywhere. The ladies of the night in Barcelona are less pushy than these people.
Bad start but hinderance over we progress to the station. We avoid the street level paper vendor and make it inside, this is when it happens. Minutes away from my train I step onto the concourse and there it is- a rolled up newspaper brandished at my chest like a sword. Again the side step but he counters like the last one and tries once more to seal this deal, one try too many. My Michael Douglas moment! "AAaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhh!" I let out this war cry at the top of my lungs. Time to stop this menace. "Thwump!" I bring my right hand down hard on the folded up paper knocking it clean out of his hands and on to the floor. My position low from this successful hit I bring the left hand up fast jumping up with it. The dragon punch sends the rest of his immediate ammo skywards. Bewildered, papers all around him he watches in shock as I walk up to his stack of annoyance. One swift kick a foot above the base of the pile sends them tumbling all over the floor. Mission accomplished the peoples champion hops through the barriers and onto a crammed train littered with his work.
This didn't really happen. Some of it did. The annoyance did for sure, it was enough for me to picture doing this and for the thought to amuse me. This was the antidote so maybe it could work for you. Next time a paper is wielded at you by a man next to a full stack this is your fight pattern. Low five, up above, side kick. Headline reads "Vigilante three move combo incapacitates street pest" Picture this to get by or go out and do it, you'll be doing us all a favour.

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