Or Totally Paranoid
It all just depends on what you conclude after reading this post.
|Graffiti aerosol artist Sofles's handiwork.|
This was really evident to me when I lived in Scotland. I often caught buses to get into Edinburgh from the little village I was living in. And I felt really sad about the large number of elderly people who had to catch the bus because it was the only way they could get out to do their shopping.
It took some of them a long time just to climb in and out of the bus. And then they often had to stand because younger people would not offer them a seat. They then had to try and hang on to something when the bus was braking constantly all the while juggling their walking sticks, shopping bags and trolleys. Anyway, to this day I really do not like to see elderly or vulnerable people travelling alone on public transport and I always keep a watchful eye out for them.
I personally have never had any cause for concern using public transport and I often use trains no matter which city I happen to be in.
On Saturday I caught a near deserted train into the City in the middle of the day.
I sat in the end seat in the "Quiet" carriage and noticed only two other passengers in the front of the carriage.
I kept my sunglasses on as the sun was shining brightly through the windows. I put my earphones in and sat back to have a relaxing journey listening to my favourite tunes.
After two stops, I saw four teenage boys step on board and walk towards me one after the other. The first boy walked straight through to the next carriage. The second boy sat down in the seat opposite me and said he was "going to stay put."
The third boy sat in the seat in front of him and the fourth sat next to me.
Of all the seats that were available in the carriage they chose to sit right on top of me.
I immediately became uncomfortable.
They talked amongst themselves for a minute or two before the young guy sitting next to me turned and asked, "Hey, what brands do you like lady?"
What brands do I like? Lady?
I told him that I was pretty sure that we would not like the same brands at all.
He looked about 15. He then started reeling off a list of brands such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike etc as though he had learned it by rote.
"You know what I mean?" he asked.
I told him that sure I had heard of the brands but I was not into brands and they were way too expensive for me.
He turned to me and said, "Well you sure don't look like a lady that doesn't like brands. Look at you, you're wearing Prada sunglasses."
|Truly, who notices brands?|
I quickly told him that a friend got them for me in Thailand and they were knock offs (lie). Instinctively I held onto my bag and phone a little tighter.
I took off my glasses and held them in front of me and said loudly. "They're great don't you think? Just like the real thing. Maybe you could get the brands you like over there for next to nothing too."
He then told me he was dressed in all new Ralph Lauren gear and then his mate told me that he was dressed from head to toe in Tommy Hilfiger.
I am not sure what reaction they wanted. If any.
I told them that they were pretty lucky to afford clothes like that (all the time thinking that they probably had nicked them from the local department store).
"Oh that's because I am a lawyer", came the smartass reply.
His mate said, "You can't say that you idiot, you've got to go to college to do that".
"OK", he said, "I'm a thief and I paint trains."
And that I guess was probably closer to the truth.
He shifted closer to me forcing me to move as close to the window as I could get.
Trying to break his current thought patterns (thank you Edward de Bono), I told him that my best friend's son is a graffiti artist and he paints trains all over the world and gets paid lots of money to do it. I said, "I bet he wears all the brands you guys like and doesn't have to steal to get them."
"What's his name then?", two of them said in unison.
"Ummm, his name is um, .....Daley Wilson (a big fat lie)" I offered.
"No", the guy sitting next to me said. "What's his tag?"
"Mmm", I said, "I am not really sure. Tell me a few and I will see if I remember."
Vinson, Sofles, SIROC, they yelled out.
"I think it's the second last one, that sounds really familiar." I said.
"Wow, lady, that is amazing", the boy next to me said. "You really know him? Wow, you know Sofles?"
Well I know of him now, anyway.
They then got up one by one and I hoped that meant that they were getting off at the next station.
"See you then lady, have a real good day. Say hello to Sofles for us when you see him next." one of them called over his shoulder.
As they were walking towards the door they stopped to look at the map on the wall, so I took a picture of them with my phone. Bits of kids with their flash gear on that look pretty harmless, no?
|Notice the one in the middle has his collar up so you can see the Ralph Lauren logo - I thought only old men wore that brand.|
The two teenage girls at the front of the carriage each turned around and gave me a knowing look. I said, "Jesus Christ" and breathed a big sigh of relief.
These kids really scared me.
I just wondered what they saw when they picked me out to sit down next to. Alone? Am I now one of those people I used to feel sad about on Scottish buses?
As the train pulled out of the station I looked into the next carriage and noticed familiar caps. They did not get off the train at all, they had just moved to the next carriage.
I would have loved to tell them what I really thought but I decided to engage with them and use the only thing of any use that my ex taught me, Bullshit Baffles Brains.
I am not sure I will choose a deserted carriage to sit in any more though. My intuition wasn't telling me positive things about these kids...I got the menacing signal loud and clear. That has not happened before, ever, and I have met all kinds of strange people on public transport and on my travels.
PS Sorry Sofles, whoever you may be, for using your name in vain. I think it was for a good cause and just so you know, you clearly have some influence. Please use it really, really wisely because we truly have some **(*)(*)*)*) up kids around.