It is strange when you bump into someone you know in the middle of an unfamiliar city where neither of you live. Today I was walking through Manchester looking for somewhere to have lunch when the familiar voice of my Edinburgh Fringe flatmate Chris Addison hallooed me from the right. Now admittedly we were both in town for the Manchester Comedy Festival (I was on that very night and he has a gig tomorrow) but still the chances of us bumping into each other this way were miniscule and it was almost a Dickensian coincidence. Also he was eating a hotdog and it's always fun to catch someone half way through eating something in the street. He thought he had got away with eating a hotdog, but no, I had happened to chance across him eating it so his secret was out and I felt I was duty bound to tell the world. I have done my bit. Help spread the word about Chris Addison and his uncontrollable hotdog addiction (something that he had cleverly somehow managed to hide from me completely during the many Edinburgh Fringes that we have lodged together, but now in this unguarded moment became all too clear).
Despite his mouthful of hotdog he suggested we go for a coffee. This was a nice distraction for me. I'd arrived in town a bit low and lonely and the Travelodge which I was staying at did not have any rooms ready until 2.30pm, but now I had a friend to drink coffee with. Admittedly a friend with a hotdog problem, but I would only need to be with him for an hour tops and he could hopefully control his hotdog lust for such a brief time. Whatever, I will not judge someone for being obsessed with a particular food stuff (not that I have any problems in that area, as I think I made clear later that night in my show Someone Likes Yoghurt
Some people don't believe in coincidence, thinking that everything happens for a reason. I increasingly believe that everything happens for no reason. It would be arrogant to think that someone or something is looking down on me and trying to organise my life, thinking "Rich looks a bit blue, I will try and cheer him up by engineering a meeting between him and a comedian eating a bun with a sausage in it!" It would be an organisational nightmare for a start. But nonetheless I was glad that random chance had resulted in me seeing this friendly smiling ketchup smeared face.
We went and had coffee and chatted about stand-up. I ordered some pasta. The waitress who brought it stabbed Chris lightly with my fork. She claimed it was an accident, but I felt she was cross that he hadn't ordered any food himself (and probably sniffing the hotdog on his breath) and was punishing him. But although it is tempting to use violence against addicts of this kind, it actually does not help them.
Chris had to leave to go and "write his new radio series", though he seemed to be heading off in the direction of the nearest hotdog stand, but it had been good to bump into him. I felt happier than I had been before seeing him, so if anyone or anythind did arrange this for me then thanks for that.
I went back to my Travelodge and had a sleep and then popped next door to the venue to do my show. It went very well. Life is OK. Thanks to the many of you who came along and it was nice to meet some of you afterwards.
Sometimes it takes a chance meeting with a man with a hotdog to remind you of these things.