Monday, 3 December 2018

Lost in London

I dream I am visiting my brother in London. It is nearly 50 years since my brother lived in London, so this is a throwback to old times. However, the brother in my dream bears the features and characteristics of my son, Ronan, instead of those of my brother.

I am as ignorant of the geography of London as I was the first time I visited it nearly 50 years ago. It is just a huge, shapeless, conglomerate.

We are standing at a bus-stop, somewhere on the outskirts of London, accompanied by a poor boy (young adult). I notice a shoe-shop near the bus-stop, with a sale sign up in the window. I realise that I have a discount voucher for shoes in my wallet, and that the poor boy could do with a new pair of shoes, so I give him my voucher and urge him to the shop.

My brother thinks the voucher may not be enough to cover a pair of shoes he might choose, so decides to go into the shop with the poor boy.

Just then, a bus arrives at the stop. Is it our bus? The brother nods, but continues to the shop. I try to hold the bus, but the driver pulls off. Interestingly, the model of (double-decker) bus is that of today (with entrance door beside the driver, rather than at the back, and no conductor), rather than that of 50 years ago.

Soon after, another bus pulls in at the stop. I guess that there are several bus-routes that use this stop. Would this bus also suit us? I look at the name of the destination, displayed on the bus, and guess: yes! that sounds like where we are going.

Again, I try to hold the bus, expecting my brother and his companion to emerge from the shop at any moment. I reach the door, and have to step onto the bus to avoid missing it. I have to proceed to a seat. I go up the stairs and take a seat where I have a view of the shop door.

Brother and companion emerge; but now there is a surge of people onto the queue in front of them. It looks like they won't make the bus. I try to mouth to the brother a message that I will wait for them at the terminal. What is the name of the destination? I can't remember. It was something like "Tomorrow Market." I try to mouth "Tomorrow," meaning that I would meet him at "Tomorrow Market." The brother nods; indicating, "Yes: I'll see you there."

The bus pulls off. Now it occurs to me that "Tomorrow Market" may not be the correct name of the destination and that the brother might have understood, "See you tomorrow," rather than, "See you at the destination."

It is very warm on the bus. I notice that my neighbour's head is resting on my shoulder, and that he/she is asleep. I don't know what kind of person it is, because I can't actually see him/her.

This is my predicament, uncomfortably warm on a London bus, with an un-knowable stranger's head resting on my shoulder. I am in a city of 10 million inhabitants, a huge maze of streets. I don't know where I am going, but, in addition, I don't know where I am coming from.