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6:55pm on Thursday, 16th June, 2011:

Uxbridge Vignette


I went to Brunel University today to be the external examiner for a bunch of MA awards. The meeting wasn't until 3pm so I didn't have the usual rush to get there ontime that I do when it's in the morning. In fact, I arrived early enough to have a look round Uxbridge town centre.

Some observations:

On the bus back from Brunel, I had the misfortune to sit in front of a man who commented on absolutely everything he saw or thought of, using a silly voice. Really, he talked ceaselessly on whatever topic came into his head, mainly based on what he noticed about the world around him. "There's a man with crutches getting onto the bus. I don't need crutches because I don't have a bad leg"; "These are new houses, but there's someone living in them already. They have two upstairs instead of one"; "This is Jack's Fish & Chips, I've been in there. Once I didn't go in to eat, I just wanted to go to the toilet"; "The traffic lights will change soon and then we'll be off again. There — told you so!"; "That's the U4 bus. I've taken it myself. I like to sit upstairs no matter how far I'm travelling, but that bus doesn't have an upstairs"; "That's where RAF Uxbridge used to be. There was a plane outside but they took it away"; ...

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture. By the time we reached Uxbridge town centre, everyone sat within 10 feet of him got off at the first opportunity (at the Civic Centre). I did so myself, even though the bus was going directly to the tube station and by getting off early I was condemning myself to an unnecessary 5-minute walk. I just couldn't take him any more, he was relentless. It wasn't simply the unstoppable flow of inanity, it was the unignorable, penetrating voice — the exact kind of voice you'd put on if you were impersonating someone with an unhealthy yet requited love of model train sets. Either he was getting deep into character for a play or he's lucky no-one has murdered him by now.

Hopefully my mental scarring will have healed by the time of the next examiners' meeting at Brunel in October.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).