A really strange thing happened to me the other day, on the metro going to ‘Plaça Catalunya’. I had a meeting with a young woman, in a bar, I don’t like to invite people I don’t know into my home, actually I don’t like to invite people I do know into my home. I find it a bit intrusive; which is kind of what happened to me, in a way.
The young woman wanted to ‘pick my brains’ about something I knew very little about, but I thought to myself ‘what the hell, go and spend some time in the city, have a coffee, be seen out and about with a pretty girl’. I’d never met her before, I’d only spoken with her on the phone, but I was hoping that she would be pretty; she sounded pretty. Even at my age I’m optimistic about meeting pretty women, despite the prevalence of obesity, interbreeding and poor dental care. Is that sexist or sizeist? I’m not sure.
Actually there are some attractive big women out there; they seem comfortable in their skin, all of it! It is not necessarily the size of a person that’s unattractive, it’s the greed, the inactivity, the slovenly attitude I can’t abide. Mind you some women are not blessed either way and there is nothing you can do about that.
Spanish women cling with bleak fortitude to their lithe bodies until they hit the age of thirty and then they just can’t cling on any more; they become wholesome and wise. Wisdom carries its own unique beauty; wisdom on the face of a mature woman is very attractive I believe.
Slovenliness however is not a domain reserved solely for the obese, it’s for young people too, and amongst other causes – and there are many – I lay the blame, not entirely but partially at the door of the mobile phone.
This is the kind of silly, random nonsense that roams without restraint through the wilderness of my mind, it happens more now than ever before; I don’t even bother to intervene any more. These were the sort of thoughts I entertained whilst standing on the tube. At first I played ‘spot the prettiest girl in the carriage’ which was quickly resolved by the girl sitting opposite me. I extended the game to include the next carriage but she held her title until the end.
Although I have to say that even though she won hands down in that specific category, she lost out on other titles, such as ‘the nicest girl in the carriage’ or ‘the girl most likely to win a Nobel Prize’. Too vain, she knew she’d win and win again tomorrow, not an attractive trait in a person, vanity. A little vanity is healthy, otherwise we’d all go around looking like shit and totally undesirable, human existence would grind to a halt. Most of us try to do the best with what we have, some, like the prettiest girl, preened to excess, which is tolerable when you see the result. Even so, I have to say when a person takes that much care of their appearance it’s because appearance is all they have.
All the contenders, apart from one – The Nobel Prize winner – were plugged into their phones, the Nobel Prize winner was reading a book! No that’s a lie, one other girl was neither reading a book or busy with her phone; but I’ll get to her in a minute. I counted twelve people using their phones, not as conventional phones, they weren’t chatting away annoyingly like we did in the old days. No these youngsters wore ear phones whilst their thumbs whizzed over their screens at an incredible speed doing god only knows what. Then, once we disembarked and made our way slowly from the dark belly of the underground, passing buskers of variable ability, to the light of La Rambla, these phone addicts just carried on. Only; and here’s the point I wanted to make, they ambled with incredible tardiness not only (totally unaware no doubt) causing a bottleneck and keeping the rest of us from getting on with our business; but not burning any calories either! That my friend is practically inviting obesity to pull up a sofa and move in!
Whilst on the train, between thoughts of a sexual or perverse nature I had time to ponder many questions, most of which I can’t recall now or refuse to command an appointment with again. I do however recall some of that non-lineal, random thought process. First of all, between the duties of my main occupation, rating girls, I thought about suicide bombers and their motivation. I wondered about the quota of sanity in attendance during the process and I then wondered if the dark skinned fellow hugging his rucksack nearby was a Tamil rebel, plotting to send us to another plane of existence (however unlikely that might be) or, just perhaps, he was swatting for an exam on astral physics.
This led me to think seriously about whether I should move further away from the source of the blast and also how heroic I’d be in the event of an actual explosion? After running through many scenarios I decided on ‘marginally’ heroic. Marginally heroic saved face, meant I did something to help someone else and not come out either a victim or a coward. Obviously I’d save the prettiest girl on the train, she’d fall in love with me and we would spend three magical weeks together on a secluded island making love in the surf; until I decided to let her go. Unless she suffered horrendous facial disfigurement as a result of the blast, then I’d wait to see how the plastic surgery turned out.
Astral Physics led me to think about astral travelling and my failed attempts to master the art in the past. Despite the fact that no real scientific evidence exists to support the idea that one could project their soul ‘out of body’ I was once rather drawn to the notion. Either by accident or by design I would attempt the manoeuvre whilst high on drugs, mainly acid. Although I can’t really say for sure that I came close to succeeding I did experience intense paranoia coupled with a constant feeling of insecurity, as if my soul had become slightly detached with all the effort and might just fall out at any moment!
It was then, while contemplating the idiocy of my youth that the aforementioned girl – the one bereft of book or phone – laughed. She didn’t laugh out loud, she wasn’t mad like some commuters; it was more of an inward, silent laugh half of which took place in her eyes. She was a scrawny little thing, mid to late twenties, curly hair and long thin fingers; she had the fingers of a bruja which is what I now believe her to be.
At first I thought, ‘hang on a minute, where did you come from?’ I had no recollection of her getting on; she just sort of appeared there next to me. Then I tried to guess what it was that she found so funny. Convinced at first that she, like me, had a rather active internal dialogue going on and all that dialogue had taken an amusing twist; it happens to me all the time. But then as I studied her from the corner of my eye I noticed that whenever I had one of my prize thoughts she smiled in unison. She wasn’t listening to her own internal dialogue, she was listening to mine! This amazed me, but I needed clarification and so breezily asked her, with my mind, to look at me if, and only if she could read my thoughts. She looked at me! I then asked for her name and before the question had left my subconscious and made its way to my inner voice she said ‘Clara!
‘If your name is Clara please look at me’ I thought. She looked at me again still laughing inwardly.
Great I’d met a bloody mind reader; this was fantastic, this was better than fantastic. How often do you get to experience telepathy first hand? If she could do it, then it stood to reason that everyone had the potential to read minds. My excitement soon waned when I realised she was still rooting around inside my head, there was stuff in there I didn’t want her to find, private, embarrassing stuff, even illegal or dangerous in the wrong hands. I started to feel invaded, ‘ok you can leave now’ I thought with all the authority I could muster. She laughed at me and glanced over at the prettiest girl who in turn shook her head, partially amused and partially disgusted I believe. What was going on? Was there some sort of mind reading epidemic I was unaware of? Is that why so many people were plugged into their mobile phones? Perhaps listening to music or messages or whatever created a screen, inhibiting intrusion?
How awful it would be if everyone had access to your most inner thoughts and you theirs, especially mine, my thoughts can be very disturbing at times. I’m used to them but others may well bulk or become ill. The government would have to introduce a censorship system under which my thoughts would be considered lethal, access denied.
The tube finally screeched into the station and everyone prepared to disembark.
Then we were off through the doors ambling behind the phone addicts as we slowly made our way out of the subway. Clara was nowhere to be seen. I spotted the pretty girl ahead and thought that, if anything she was even better from behind. At that precise moment she turned around and glared at me with such venom that several young men spotted the look she gave me and decided to be moderately heroic and intervene on her behalf. I don’t blame them; I’d have done the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot. I told them that she must have mistaken me for someone else, that I didn’t know her; neither had I interacted with her in any way, inappropriate or otherwise. The moderately heroic men believed me and then entered into a bizarre discussion about who, they themselves had been mistaken for, which seemed to range from Antonio Banderas to Placido Domingo; I left them to it.
All the way up La Rambla I tried desperately to keep focused, like my soul, many years earlier, my thoughts felt insecure, unearthed and ready to tumble out onto the street for all to see. What if all women now had the ability to read my mind? All men might too, but they wouldn’t care, they would take one look and conclude that the inside of my mind was much the same as theirs; nothing of interest lies there within. I focused on focusing my mind on business, vetting any intrusive thoughts about sex and avoided looking at women altogether; but the thoughts came unabated, like an avalanche they rushed at me, unstoppable. The more I tried to think about nothing at all the worse it became, it was carnage up there, all depravity, perversion and lust coupled with tits, bums and cocks flying around with abandon. I really felt that I was under attack, these were not my thoughts, most of the notions I was having were nothing less than debauched, I’m not debauched, I’m averagely polluted maybe, but not iniquitous to the extent of monstrous.
Was Clara responsible for this? Had she cursed me for my lusty fantastical thoughts? Did she have something against the contents of my mind or men’s minds in general? If she wanted to teach me a lesson, what lesson? Surely whatever fantasy I chose to indulge, as long as it remains kept within its enclosure, can harm or offend no one but myself!
Before I knew what I was doing I found myself standing outside the bar I’d arranged to meet the young woman in for coffee. I looked up and saw a vision of beauty waving at me, her smile soon waned and her features softened and took on a look of concern. She came over to me and introduced herself as Maria, she knew who I was of course, my photo, ten years younger, appears on the back of my book.
‘Oh Jesus’, I thought, ‘don’t think anything inappropriate, this could be extremely embarrassing; bugger, too late’.
‘Dr Rodrigo, are you ok?’ she asked kindly.
‘No not really’ I said ‘I’ve had a very strange experience, do you believe in telepathy?’ I asked timidly.
‘Oh no, that would be awful’ she said and then ‘he seems so sweet’
‘Excuse me?’ I said rather abruptly
‘I said that telepathy would be awful’
‘And then you said?’
‘No that was it’
‘What is?’ she asked and then ‘I can’t believe I’m here with him’.
‘Meeting you, how brilliant it is, let’s grab a coffee and hear your thoughts’ I said sagely.