Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Duvet man, userfriendly and old songs.

1. On my way to work I see a man apparently naked apart from a duvet and a pair of shorts sitting on a bench shaking and muttering. It's a pretty cold morning, so I stop to see if he's OK. His eyes snap open -- they are twinkly and clear -- and he smiles at me, showing a mouthful of discoloured teeth. 'I'm fine,' he says cheerfully. 'Just having a pray. I choose to live like this, but if you happen to have a couple of quid so I can buy some food...' He isn't at all grumpy about having his prayers interrupted. We chat a bit about Sainsbury's and where he might get his breakfast. He reminds me of the holy men I saw in Nepal -- at a certain time in a man's life, he hands all his responsibilities over to his sons and goes off for a wander. He grows his beard and hair and lives on whatever people give him. In due course, he comes home and settles back into the household as if he has never left.

2. At work we have had a new website installed. It's a huge change and has caused chaos, with lots of new skills to be learnt. Things are starting to settle down and we are learning the site's ways. Yesterday a new feature that users have been clamouring for was added, much to everyone's relief. Now we just have to teach them how to use it.

3. Finding an ancient mixtape of mine. It plays some songs that I haven't heard in years, and I find myself singing along, remembering the key changes and the tricky rhythms as if they'd never been away.