On the way to a job interview I saw that I had some time before the start, so I decided to spend some time working on questions I wanted to ask in a local park.
The park had a few benches scattered around the edges. At one end stood a fenced basketball court with a few pairs of people playing one on one. At the end where I selected the bench I would work on a black man played against a strong looking blonde white woman. I turned my back to the court to concentrate on the information I had on the job interview.
Suddenly, over my shoulder I heard a voice. “Oi, Mister”, it said. I turned to see a beige skin boy, about 15 years old, the other side of the fence, who had been watching the couple play ball. “Oi Mister. Are you from round here?” he asked.
“Not originally. I do live in London.” I replied.
“Do you smoke dope?” the lad said. I noticed the rather large spliff he held in one hand, scorched at one end, but not yet lit again.
“Sometimes.” I said, trying to be straight and cool.
“Would you like to buy some?” he asked more gently than one expects of a fledgling drug dealer.
“I’ve got a job interview in a minute. I don’t think it’s the right time for me to do that.” I answered.
“Alright.” He said and we both turned away, me to my papers, and he to the bouncing breasts of the basketball girl.
I started to read my preparatory material. The voice returned. “Do you live around here then?” he went on.
“Not any more. I used to live over on Sandwich Street,” he looked blankly at me, “over near Marchmont Street – do you know that?” I continued.
“Is that Brunswick?” he said.
“I think so. Do you live around here?” He replied that he did, and said the name of some estate that I don’t recall.
“Where do you live now?” he asked.
“The east end.” I offered vaguely.
“Oh. The east end.” he accepted and turned away once again.
I read the rest of my material. I small group of older boys walked over, and I grasped my bag between my knees until they passed.
This would have been the most interesting event of the day if something else had not happened at the job interview.
But I won’t go into that now.