When I’m back to London, I frequently go on line at the comps in the Virgin in Oxford Street; I’ve got to know a lot of the clerks there by sight, as well as the security guys who stand by the doors (since the computers I use are right at the doors that face the Tottenham Court Road.)
I’ve done this for a couple of years now, and up until last spring, the only really annoying thing were when the occassional person’s buddy would bump into me accidently, or when I’d be knee deep in typing someone, and a person walks in off the street and comes up to me and asks where the internet cafe is (dunno, but it might be where all the computers directly in front of you are.)
Anyway, one evening I was having a quick whip round through the email, and it was just me, and a guy sitting maybe 2 computers down from me. Maybe in his 40s, English, but built like an American gridiron football player, if you know that beefy, but muscular physical type. Very expensive, laquered hair. Expensive ‘look at me! was all I could do NOT to cut off the price tag so you can see how expensive they were!’ clothes (including a stripey vest, gold watch chain, and heavy square cut signet ring; his outfit was so…costumey, I half expected to look down and see spats.)
Anyway, he’s typing away, and then says in a stagey voice, ‘Oh, no, what have I done?’ A couple of times because I finally realise he wants my attention.
I’m incredibly skint, and these comps have a clock in the corner so you can see how fast your money is running out, so when he asks me, could I help him with something, I answered him kind of distractedly, one eye on my hourglass.
He persisted, and I logged out to save my on line minutes, and looked over at his screen. I saw what he needed to do, told him, and turned back to my comp.
He took my brief bit of social politeness as an open invitation, and started to ask me all about myself, what were my plans for the evening, hey, maybe we could do something.
Mind you, when I’d glanced at his screen, I’d also seen he was writing a letter to ‘someone’ that read something like, ‘I know we’ve been having a difficult time, and you think I’m straying, but I promise that’s all over, and you’re the only woman for me.’
Meanwhile, he’s flirting like hell and trying to pick me up!
He was so persistent and creepy, that I stood up to go, and he started to get his stuff together quickly, saying, ‘Hey wait, let’s go together!’
As I said, I’d got to know the staff, so I went up to the security guard on duty. This man was a big chap, bigger than the guy bugging me, and what I loved about him was he had a beautiful Jamaican accent. I said, quietly, ‘That man is really bothering me, and I’m a bit afraid of him; can you delay him so I can get a head start?’ Cos I figured I could disappear into the crowds. The security guy looked over at the man, who was still gathering up his stuff, and told me, ‘Go ahead, there’s nothing to worry about!’
I was a bit annoyed that he didn’t seem to be taking me seriously, but the one clerk told me the next day, as the guy walked past the guard, the guard gently took his arm, and said, ‘Why are you bothering my little wife? She comes in here to look at the computer. And you are bothering her. You frightened her. You make her cry. I will not have this.’ And apparently scared the stuffing out of the man; they were all falling over laughing as the guy started to sputter and then turned and hurried out the other door.
I did appreciate that, but for goodness sake, pushily trying to pick up a girl who is clearly not interested, whilst at the same time explaining in an email to your girlfriend that you won’t cheat on her anymore?!