London 2014: Tube Stories, Part II


Last Friday night Julia Rose and Stella went with the college girls to wait outside the stage door of Richard III. Martin Freeman, the actor who played Bilbo Baggins in the recent Hobbit films, as well as Doctor Watson on the new Sherlock series and the Jim Halpert character on the British Office series. A couple of the girls had already met him once before after seeing the play, but since Julia Rose and Stella are big fans, the college girls wanted to go back with them. Lisa and I took the tube over to Waterloo station to walk around the London Eye and Westminster Abbey.

The evening was pleasant, not cool but not warm either, and there were a lot of people out enjoying the weekend. The NFL was in town for a Sunday game at Wembley Stadium, so we saw plenty of Dolphins and Raiders jerseys, and walking across Westminster bridge, we saw a middle-aged ex-football player looking man wearing Raiders logo shirts and baseball cap walking with his wife—he just looked American, so we guessed he was a coach. There were buskers performing in front of the Eye, which was lit up purple and slowly spinning. The Thames was running a heavy current and there were a few boats on the water. The bridge lights were pretty on the water and it smelled brackish, tidal, like saltwater running inland. Big Ben and Parliament were lit up as well, and the bridge was full of people taking pictures and hanging out. There was a party going on at the tube stop beside the river bridge, and we listened to the music for a bit and waited on the bridge 5 minutes to listen to Big Ben ring in 9 p.m. After looking at Westminster we took a long walk back to the tube station, getting a little lost, but three Brit women put us on track. A little Japanese tourist was lost and looking for the tube station as well, so he followed us and was mightily relieved when we got there together.

We had to wait on the tube landing for a couple of minutes for the next train. There was a bench with one seat open. A pretty girl sat on one end and the middle seat was open. There were a couple of British guys, lanky and on the make, early twenties, waiting on the landing. One of the guys plopped on the bench beside the girl and yelled for his buddy to come over. He patted his legs and the other guy plopped on his lap. They were goofing off and harmless, but the girl got up and walked down the landing a ways.  We ended up on the same car and got seats. The two guys were down at one end of the car talking to a small group of girls, and at the next stop 5 or 6 more girls got on at the opposite end of the car from the guys. These girls were partying and loud, having a good time. They all had pint cans of beer. The more adventurous of the two boys headed down the car to chat them up. The girls were fairly butch looking and wearing slacks, sneakers, t-shirts and sweatshirts. Lanky guy took hits off of the girls’ beers, and the leader of the girls urged her friends into a contest where each stuck her wrist into the plastic four pack rings that held the beers together and pulled, like a four-way wishbone. The lead girl, obviously the strongest, won the ring and cheered and strutted a bit. Lanky boy kept yelling at his buddy to come down and hit on the girls, but his buddy was having none of it. We rolled into Leicester Station and the lead girl yelled “Leicester ladies” and they rolled off the train.

Lanky boy headed back to his mate. “What’s the matter with you? Sitting down here and all the fanny on the other end of the train?”

The other guy just laughed and said, “Congratulations mate. You’ve been trying to pick up a gang of lesbians.”

I started laughing and the guy looked over at me. I gave him a thumbs up. Lisa leaned over and said “I could tell that a mile away.”

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