On the bus yesterday I eavesdropped two guys having a conversation, well one guy was doing most of the talking. He said he used to live in London but couldn't deal with it because London was too crazy for him. That piqued my interest because I love London. I was curious to find out why he had that perception of London.
The young man had a way of describing things that made "horrible experiences" sound like comedy. His life was basically one long black comedy.
He said what prompted him to leave London was when someone threatened him with a gun. So he got himself a sawn-off shotgun and went to the boy's house. He knocked on the door and the boy's father answered. He said he was there to return his son's favour.
"What did the boy's father do?" the other guy said.
"He beat the shit out of his son right in front of me." he chuckled. "I even became friends with his dad. About six months later I met up with the boy and he thanked me. We hugged and we made up."
The young man said after that experience he left London to live in Hertfordshire, where he's been living with his fiancée. They haven't been getting on recently so both are cooling off with their parents, hence his visit to London.
He said he could understand people who have a hard life. He's had a hard one; he's one of a family of 12 brothers and 4 sisters. (The guy he was talking to asked him if he was Italian because he looked it, but he said he was pure English). He said one of his brothers has been thinking of getting a gun. He said he told his brother that if he ever bought one he was going to shoot him with it just to teach him a lesson. Hahaha.
He talked about the gangs in a place called Ilford where there are many Asian youths. (In the UK, the term Asian refers to Indian Sub-continent origin). He said they all carry guns. Once he said he was with his fiancée and his sister. An Asian guy tried to chat up his sister. She told him to "fuck off!" The guy was really pissed off and slapped her face. He went livid, pulled the Asian guy out of his car and punched him. Then all hell broke lose. He claimed sixteen Asian guys appeared and he got into a fight with all of them.
(I reckon my friend was exaggerating slightly but it did sound funny though the way he was describing it).
Anyway, he said they kicked and punched him and each time he got up he got more beatings but he wouldn't stay down. When the police arrived they asked him why he hadn't stayed down. He said because he had no intention of going down without a fight.
Soon the other guy he'd been chatting to on the bus got up to leave. It turned out he had only just met him on the bus. His parting remarks to him was "You seem to get into a lot of trouble. Look after yourself."
"If trouble comes, it comes," he said and said goodbye.
What a guy!
It's interesting that I've been to Ilford many times and I've never had that kind of experience. I guess I don't move in the same circle as my friend. No wonder he can't stand London. Still, at least he hasn't lost his sense of humour. He is a joy to be with, even if I was only eavesdropping.
The guy on the bus reminded me of two friends I met a while back. They said they lived in a part of London where there are always shootings. They've never actually experienced it but they've heard about it. I reckon with all their time spent theorising about stuff (they are both university lecturers) they're hardly going to have that experience.
"I reckon they'll take one look at you and leave you alone," I said to one friend.
"Yeah, it would be a waste of their bullets killing me," he chuckled.
Humour enables me to see the human dream as it is: a stage with the many players, to paraphrase William Shakespeare.
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