Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Open and Shut Case

Last Thursday, I was working on a film shoot, on location, in London. It was my fourth day on the same project and, just as on the previous project I worked on with the same director, he seemed to keep us waiting around a lot. As long as I'm getting paid, I couldn't care less. On Thursday, I didn't do anything all day, but sit around, sleep, play sudoku, read the paper, eat, and chat with fellow background artistes.
Barbara, the Hungarian woman I met about eleven months ago, on the director's previous project, was also on the current shoot. This time, she'd gotten her son on the job, as well. He seemed like a nice young man and is very "into" films. Each day, I carry my black shoulder bag, to keep my "stuff" in. For the shoot, it contained flapjacks, newspapers, a book, my hat, plus back up pen, train schedules, bus schedules, my portable radio, and a few other "bits." The bag is actually an old, leather, laptop case. Someone was throwing it out, last year, when I rescued it. As I tend to pick up any free newspaper I can get my hands on, but don't throw them away until I have completed the sudokus in them, there are usually several newspapers sticking out of the top of one of the compartments of the case.
When we wrapped for the day, I happened to be walking out at the same time as Barbara's son. Suddenly, he says to me, "your bag is open."
After looking down to check it, I say, "I know." Of course it's open. I usually leave two or three of the top compartments open, because I have so much "stuff" inside, I can't close the zippers. Several newspapers were sticking out of one of the compartments, as normal. Was he really concerned that someone might steal one of my several days old newspapers, or was he just teasing me? I walked to the Tube station and didn't give the matter any more thought.
After taking the District line to Richmond, I crossed over to the Southwest Trains platform, to catch the next Reading bound train. When the train arrived, it was very full. I pushed past several people standing in the doorway. I had spotted one empty seat, between two people, facing backwards. I hurried to get to the seat, before someone else grabbed it. I was tired and wanted to sit for the journey to Bracknell. As I started down the aisle, towards the seat, one of the people who had been standing in the doorway grabbed my arm. It was a young man I had squeezed past. It had better be important, as he'd just violated the taboo against touching a stranger. Feeling annoyed, I turned to see what this person wanted. "Your bag is open," he said.
"Yeah, I know," I said feeling exasperated. That's it? This muppet grabbed my arm on a crowded train, delaying me from reaching the only available seat, to tell me my bloody bag is open? It's always open! Every day I travel, one or more of the compartments is unzipped. There's nothing valuable inside. Usually, no one says anything about it. In fact, I have been travelling on public transportation since last July and no one has ever told me my bag was open. Until last Thursday. Now, two young men had told me in the same day. What's with these guys and my open bag? Leave me alone! I hate when strangers who aren't beautiful women disturb me, in public. I hate it when people tell me something I am already fully aware of, as if they've done me this massive favor. Why me? Why that day? I can hardly wait till I can afford a limousine.

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