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Monday 3rd March 2003

I am ridiculously busy at the moment, trying to get as much of my book done as possible before I go to Australia. So I am rushing around from pillar to post and then back to the pillar, then to a different post, then back to the same pillar, then to a different pillar and then thinking I should really stop rushing around between pillars and posts and go to the library and work.
This morning I dashed out of the house so quickly that it wasn’t until I was half way down my road that I realised I hadn’t put a shirt on. Don’t worry, I wasn’t bare chested, I had a T-shirt and a coat on, but normally (in the winter) I wear a long sleeved shirt for show and a T-shirt for warmth. There wasn’t time to go back, but I was slightly annoyed as I was wearing my Scrabble T-shirt (that Stew had bought me from America as a joke, so that I would look like the “all-the-eligible-two-letter-word-knowing” nerd that I am). I thought now I am going to have to sit in the British Library with everyone looking at me, saying (oh no, not saying, it’s a library) – rather thinking “Look at that “all-the-eligible-two-letter-word-knowing” Scrabble nerd. He’s such a nerd that he doesn’t even know that being an “all-the-eligible-two-letter-word-knowing” Scrabble nerd is an embarrassing thing.
Fortunately I had momentarily forgotten that I was headed for the British Library, which outside of Dr Who book signing season is Nerd HQ. A faded, stretched Scrabble T-shirt is the height of sartorial elegance. There’s a bloke there who wears a pair of glasses with a giant magnifying glass attached to the rim. These people don’t care. Thank God for them.
I worked until just after 7pm, and then was tired and hungry. I didn’t want to wait until I got home to eat, so I popped over the road to Pizza Express to treat myself to a spicy chicken pizza. As I was alone I sat at the table playing my Gameboy and drinking a cold beer.
Then it struck me, I was sitting in a Pizza Express on my own, playing Scrabble on a Gameboy, wearing a Scrabble T-shirt. How much of a sad idiot must I look? People must have been thinking (or even “saying”, this time as Pizza Express unfortunately does not operate under the strict no-speaking rules of the British Library), “Hmmm, a middle aged man in a Scrabble T-shirt, playing Scrabble, not against another human being, not even against another sad nerd, but against a (not very powerful) computer. One wonders why on earth he finds himself unaccompanied this evening.”
Two men had been employed to play musical standards on an electric guitar and saxophone respectively. No-one was listening to them. No-one applauded them. Normally I would have found their efforts a bit pitiful, but what position was I in to judge. The guitarist tried to catch my eye. Was he laughing at me? Or did he also like Scrabble? Or did he like Scrabble a bit, but not enough to wear a Scrabble T-shirt whilst playing Scrabble on a Gameboy?
I thought “Fuck it” and had another beer and carried on playing Scrabble against an imaginary old man.
Surprisingly none of the women in Pizza Express this evening tried to hit on me.

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