Flying back from Denmark yesterday. Sat next to a guy with brown skin. Well, those Jihad nitwits have threatened Denmark and Italy to be next as terrorism targets in the wake of the London bombings. So what would be better than a flight from Copenhagen to London?
Before we took off, there was all kinds of trouble. The plane had to offload some luggage belonging to a passenger, who for some reason was not onboard anyway! There were strange warning sounds (something like the Twilight Zone theme) which escaped from the cockpit and made it into the speaker system. Stewardesses (Am I the only one who cannot quite agree on that whole "Air Hostess" thing?) were running back and forth... And yet, this guy was sitting very quietly and motionless next to me. In fact, he appeared to be asleep.
By my best guess, he would be of Pakistani descent. I noticed that he was wearing a white long-sleeved t-shirt. Raking my mind I remember some of the plane jacking jihadders of the 70s wearing white, as it apparently is a kind of funeral attire for muslims. Ready to die, eh? Doesn't care whether the plane crashes or not, since he has his own sinister agenda!
I had to control myself to the utmost to keep from asking him, even jokingly, if he was carrying a bomb. Instead I tried a more polite statement of, "not the nicest sounds..." when those warning sirens came back on again. He mumbled an inaudible reply. Clearly he was told to stay low and not attract suspicion, untill his unholy deed was over. And thus my panic grew.
Here I was sitting with my wife, and 2 small children, of whom only the oldest has figured out there such a concept as death, and for the next 2 hours I would not be able to do a single thing to prevent their death, should the Jihadders deem us all worthy of extinction. I so badly wanted to talk to this man, who in this instance represented them all, Palestinians, Jews, Syrians, Hamas, Osama bin Laden, Afghans, Mujahedins and so on. At the end of the day, it all comes down to this. Do you want your children to die? No? Well, neither do I! So we gotta figure something else out. When everybody love their families, why can't we listen honestly to each other? Why can't we work out something, remembering that the others will also have widows, orphans and worse?
Back home in Boro was a letter waiting for me. Now I have been toiling for 3 full years at University of Teesside to get my degree. Close to loosing health, mind and family at times. And to prove it all, I got this:
I kid you not, this is it. The signature looks photocopied, for sure it isn't the original. No letterhead. Just a piece of paper with 14 lines of text on it. All this "being an academic" stuff sure isn't all it's hyped up to be. I mean, if I was going to fake proof of such a monumental achievement, I would go through a lot more trouble than this. How about the universities, where I seek postgraduate study, will they think I made this preposterous letter myself on a lazy Sunday afternoon? I wouldn't blame them...
Since you have been a bit slow on the responses. I will give you some more hints.
Actually there are a lot of people coming to buy... cigarettes from these people. Same pattern all the time. They take out a bundle of notes. Knock on the door. Hand the notes through the door. Door closes. They wait around. A minute later, the door opens and they get a golden box of Benson & Hedges cigarettes, and leave.
Judging by the thickness of that bundle of money changing hand for one box of cigarettes, those cigarettes are the most expensive EVER!
Anyway, drug dealing neighbours was not what were gonna talk about today.
Middlesbrough might seem like a beaten down, poluted, ugly, crime infested sick joke for an uninteresting city, but oh no, don't be fooled! Middlesbrough is rockingly cool in a really authentic way!
I wonder if there could be a market for sociorealistic tourism? Then the café crowds of trendy assess and the intelligenzia could come here and experience real rough! Next time you watch a movie with tough guys or mean streets, you can shrug your shoulders with that knowingly unimpressed untouchable cool, and truthfully claim, that you have 'done that, been there already.'Forget the wild, wild west and ghetto fabulous, Middlesbrough is where it's at!
Why, it was in Middlesbrough I was attacked on the streets for the first time.
It was outside my bedroom window in Middlesbrough, I saw cops chasing criminals with submachine guns shouting, "Get down on the floor! Get down on the floor! Hands above your head!" for the first time.
It was of course in Middlesbrough, that I first had a police SWAT team bang my door down at 3 AM in the night. Complete with 6 black clad guys with submachine guns up in my face, and shoutings of "drop your keys!", "Hands above your head!" and of course the old classic, "who else is in this house?"
But today came my favourite.
We received an anonymously looking letter. It turned out that it was from the parole board. A Ms. so-and-so is going to be released from prison on parole soon, and she has listed our home, as the place she is planning to stay! Either this is a superbly constructed practical joke (it is not, I have already phoned the parole board), or there must have lived some pretty scary people in this house before us.
So remind me, dear imaginary readers, that come May this year, I should expect a butch woman with knuckle tatoos and very little luggage on our doorstep.
It just occured to me, that we have no less than 4 prams/pushchairs in our possession. 4 (four!), and that is not counting the 2 toy ones the girls have. As I gazed around the carpark, I noticed we also have 3 vacuum cleaners. We have a problem. We might think we are normal folks, but we have a problem. "Oh no, we are not attached to material possessions; we only have 4 prams and 3 vacuum cleaners. I can assure you that each and every one of them are just the absolutely bare essentials!"