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11:04pm on Wednesday, 21st August, 2019:



The train I took back from the conference (which was in London) was very crowded, and I found myself standing next to a man who was wearing a stetson and dark glasses. He took three phone calls during the course of the journey. I only got his side of the conversation, but here's how they went.

Call 1. "No, you only want money. No, you can't help me, you're just going to ask for money. Why don't you read from the script? That's what you people normally do. No. Fuck off!"

I thought this lasted rather longer than usual for a spam call, because in my experience the caller hangs up as soon as they realise they're wasting their time. My suspicions were correct.

Call 2. "I'm playing sardines on a train. People don't seem to know you can hold the handles on the chairs. What is it you want? No, just say what you really want. No. No. Wanker."

At this point he made a show of hanging up. Another person near us said to him, "What's your problem?". His reply was "What's YOUR problem?". The carriages were full and people were standing between the chairs. All but one of the handles on the chairs were in use.

Call 3. "Hello? No, you can't help me. You just want money. If you want to help me, write off the debt. No. 500 quid is peanuts. I owe thousands, tens of thousands. Your 500 is nothing to me. I'll pay it when I want to pay it. Goodbye."

In between the calls, he was listening to music on his phone. He was making ostentatious nods in time to it and saying "jer je jer je jer" to show he was into the beat. When I looked at his phone, there was a video of him on it singing. Lip-reading the lyrics, they were "jer je jer je jer".

You just don't get these commuter scenes when you drive through Colchester in a car.

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Copyright © 2019 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).