There we are, the train has reached Stafford. The PA system in the train has announced so. But I knew we were in Stafford, even though I had been using the Liverpool train from Crewe only for a month now. I have no choice but to memorise the stations and the time taken between the stations. I must be doubly sure though, so I flipped open my watch to check. Yes, the dial felt right, 8:20.
Off the train steps, I knew we were in platform 3, oho! The smell was right, you know what, it is easy; each place has a distinct smell, especially places like railway stations and shops. Nobody knows that better than me, most places have a distinct vibration & feel about them. They are all in my mental library, to be picked up on demand!
We are not on platform 1 though, hmm! There must be something dodgy with the trains today, maybe the 7:35 Pendolino to London was delayed and is therefore expected in platform 1? Up the stairs, over the tracks and down to platform 1, through the doors and to the pedestrian crossing on Railway St. Today the coffee shop at the doors has freshly baked croissants, they smell heavenly, no time for it or a freshly brewed coffee though.
There is a nice lady next to me, She is wearing Obsession by Calvin Klein, I like that fragrance, they say even certain insects are attracted to it!!! On my left is a chap wearing Hugo boss cologne. He surely is well dressed, only an affluent man would buy Hugo boss. Ah! I love perfumes, and I have my collection, so I know what smells like what, even if I have sprayed the lowly ‘Diesel’ on me today (I like it though!). The CK obsession lady is wearing heels, I heard the ‘click-click’ as I came out of the train, I have been thinking about her for two months now. Wonder how she looks? Oh! come on lady, today is a rainy day, can you not smell the coming rain? I can smell it, how I wish we were friends, If so, I could have chatted you up and warned you, you are going to get wet before the evening and those heels are going to get soggy. Hey! I can smell curry, not in the breath, but on the clothes as well, I can hear bangles and the tinkle of earrings, that must be the Indian girl who uses the same train. Lady, why don’t you wear your office clothes after completing the cooking? The guys in your office must be making jokes about you, did you know that?
Know what? I am wearing my suit and my oxfords, We have an office party today, send off for Mr Clark, I like Clark, he is a great chap, he used to be patient with me, only problem was sometimes a bit protective…Well, people like Clark move on. Will a new guy come in his place? Or are they firing many of us? Out-sourcing to India, Maybe? People talk about that all the time at the office.
Finding that suit I am wearing was tough and getting myself fitted even more complicated. But I have a friend in the shop, we grew up together at Crewe, he helped me get fitted. Many friends tell me how dapper I look in this suit, and I have even figured out how to gel my hair. It is so damn easy these days, no partition or anything, just gel up the hair and lift it up here & there…new style? Sharon had cut it short & nicely, at the ‘New barbers’. Thanks to those great silicone swab polishers. One rub and the shoes are done. I am confident today…I feel good.
It has been over a minute at the signal, I guess there is a lot of traffic or maybe the lady has not punched the button as yet, no, there you go, there! the beep has started. At the signal is a diesel Jaguar X type, wonder why the guy did not buy an S type instead, they are so much better, Does he not know that the X type is an American contraption in a Brit body? A Ford Mondeo in Jag frame? And that too a diesel; I can even smell the bloody fumes…The S type purrs in comparison, I know about cars, since I worked in the Rover factory in Coventry till the Chinese shut it down, and that is how I started working in Stafford.
Oh come on, big man, get a move on, the beeps will stop in a minute. Right! I am through the pedestrian crossing, walking past the war memorial park. Aah! What the blooming hell was that, a kid in a bike, speeding by the pedestrian walkway, brushed me, don’t they have manners? I nearly fell down there!!
I have to learn to look down, it has always been my habit, my friends tell me that I keep gazing above their heads, and that surely looks funny, I agree with them. I can’t wear dark glasses all the time, which is even worse. I wonder if I will ever be able to get rid of my cane, ah, well, soon somebody will invent something, GPS based, I guess and then I can throw this cane away. I can smell, I can feel, but when people mention colours, I am lost, Oh! How I wish I knew what that was? I live with hope though, look at Stephen Hawking, he can’t move or talk, yet he is living a life, it may not be so great, but compared to him, I am better off, what if I don’t have the ability to see??
Author: After I wrote a few lines on the ‘man on the street’ I started to think a bit about ‘the man inside’. This is the result. There are two kinds of handicapped people, those who despair and those who learn to handle it with aplomb. Our man above is one such…