Author Topic: a significant clearing of the throat


a significant clearing of the throat
« on: September 28, 2008 »
Yesterday was our 17th wedding anniversary, which apparently calls for an exchange of furniture. Not sure if there's room in the house for that piano. Technically we should save it for our 24th, and yes, I consider a piano to be furniture, as I can't play one.

Time to come clean: we stopped exchanging mandated gifts a while ago. That includes Christmas and birthdays. Listen, it's enough that I even remember the date, which sadly I didn't this year until prompted by a significant clearing of the throat concerning what our plans were going to be. After decades of togetherness this can only be interpreted one way.

We kicked around in the city, starting with Transport for London's exhibition of their new rolling stock for the sub-surface railway. (Who says I'm not a hopeless romantic.) This is part of the "comprehensive transformation programme" — I'm reading from their programme here — to address the demand for the Tube, which has supposedly never been higher, I'm guessing except for those years when it was used as a bomb shelter. Incidentally the trains are being built by Bombardier in Derby.

Benefits are to include "better security" (more CCTV! those of us who never had a big brother continue to be thankful to the state for providing one) and air conditioning. This will just make my wife shiver, necessitating that I hold her closer, so it's romantic after all.

The cars are "open plan" complete with accordion, like the bendy buses. This development disturbed an interested party. He collared the conductor, who must have thought he was going to have an easy job that day, and heatedly questioned him about the hazards of not having separate compartments. I didn't catch all of the conversation and only really started paying attention when his voice suddenly boomed "What about the FIRE and the EXPLOSION?!"

"There is no fire," the conductor said.

"Don't be so thick!" said the man.

Our fellow passengers took it in stride. It reminded me of my time served in the New York City subway, where people will continue to read Newsday even while there's a baby being delivered the next seat over.

That seemed as good a stop as any to get off, so we made our way to Leighton House in Holland Park, the former residence of the Victorian artist, and soaked up the peacock blue oasis of calm in the Arab hall. Dinner at a vegan restaurant, then home to watch the presidential debates, which proved to be alternately soporific and alarming, and then to bed.