There’s nothing odd about arriving at work in London to find that half a dozen of your colleagues have called in running late claiming dicky tube trains. But I heard a new excuse today – “I’m running late, my bus has turned into a bloodied sardine can with the roof and sides ripped off”. Pardon?
By 10am, after a scrap for the left over pastries from an early client meeting (thankfully the closest I came to being in harms way today), it started to become apparent things were a little more serious than half a dozen hangovers crawling to work. It was that bus that gave it all away. They just don’t usually blow up like that.
Fascinating watching the English respond to this mornings events. The obvious first question – who’s responsible? To some at work the answer was as clear as I’m sure it was to any Greenpeace member. "Those dirty snail gobbling French pricks did it." Sore losers that they are about the Olympics, Trafalgar - and they were bloody lazy in World War Two I’ve come to learn since being here.
By 11am the shock of the attacks had taken full effect in the office. The English did the only thing they could do – they went to the pub. Which was jammed. Like a tube at rush hour, although thankfully with more calming Guinness on hand.
There they watched the BBC with a mix of serious scowls and brilliant black comedy. Which is when I started realising just what a tough bunch they can be at times like this. It wasn’t just doing it on the beaches and all that stuff that had them beat the Germans (who the English seem to admire for not being quite so lazy as the French) back 60 years ago, but sick David Brent like jokes too.
Tough yes, but also smart and lazy enough to realise that it was a great reason to have the afternoon off. By 1pm the office was empty. Who knows why I was still there – every client I called had closed their offices for the day as well. I think what held me at work was the mesmerising state of looking down, from 24 floors up, on the usually teeming streets of my adopted new town to see it void of those hundreds of quaint, harmless red buses. Surreal. Weird.
Anyone remember Threads? Kinda like that, but without the mushroom clouds. Or the wee dribbling down my leg. For now.