Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A Big Night Out

I've lived in London for 25 years and I have always felt safe and confident. Until last night.

Suddenly, going on the tube, and around Piccadilly Circus, on crutches I felt vulnerable. It's difficult to explain but it had something to do with everyone else moving so fast. I was constantly on my guard, trying to look all around for potential hazards.

Getting off the tube, I hobbled to the wall on the platform, and got my bearings. Thousands of people were rushing past without a care in the world and without any regard for the fact that they were almost knocking me over. My knee was under attack from all sides.

I made my way up the stairs. Slowly. Everyone was hurtling past. I got on to the escalator, slowly. The other folk were zooming along. As I approached the top I got a bit scared. I was confident I could get off, but I was worried that the people behind would not realise that I was slower than them and that they would therefore walk in to the back of me. I looked round at a packed escalator. As the top neared, I raised my crutches, saying to the world "I'm on crutches, prepare to go slow." I hopped a little way to get clear and then moved to the side. The rest of the world flew past, some tutting that I had slowed the flow by a nano second.

I was heading for the press night of One Man Two Guvnors. One of my actors is in the ensemble. He's got a few bits of nice business. I hadn't seen the play in it's original James Corden version, had heard good things, and was looking forward to it.

I'd managed to get a seat on the aisle - good - room to stretch.

I'd managed to get a seat on the aisle - bad - I was first on my row so had to keep getting up.

The play was very funny, my chap, did what he had to very well, and afterwards we shared a glass of wine. The celebs were out in force and I happened to be standing just behind where all the pictures were taken so if you see any of these in the press, I'm the slightly surly bloke at the back, on crutches.

The night was ruined by my brother's text service. Everton were away at Liverpool. Moyes put out a weak team, saving himself for the weekend FA Cup quarter final. I agree with this but it was still annoying at the interval to read four texts describing our descent into ignominy.

Katie said she'd pick me up from the tube so I didn't have to crutch it back. She managed to stay up till nearly midnight - unheard of - and was waiting at the tube as I emerged. She was quite perky although Pithy Elbow was there and wiggled something disapproving about the lateness of the hour.

The knee survived the big night out and with Katie still awake, she and I watched, as the knee went through the bed time ritual of photo and exercises. No major pain, more movement, no damage done. Home safe and sound, phew.

I think I may be developing agoraphobia.

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