Sunday 10th February 2013
You know those big businesses that pay for free public transport for all in the early hours of January 1st (in London at least)? I've got a tiny idea of how great they must feel. Because at some point yesterday I evening I dropped my Oyster Card (it's possible, but unlikely that someone pickpocketed it - I think they might have gone for my wallet of phone) and someone picked it up and used it. I don't mind at all. In all likelihood they found it on the floor and took the opportunistic decision to use it. They hadn't set out that evening looking to commit a crime, but once they'd seen the possibility of free travel the temptation was too much for them. In any case under the ancient law of "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers" which is still on the statute books they had done nothing wrong. I have certainly done similar and worse crimes of theft in my life. This high-flying criminal got a few hours or minutes of free transport (depending on when I dropped it) and they certainly made the most of it, taking at least one bus ride. As long as they stayed within the first couple of zones they will only have cost me a couple of pounds at most as if you go crazy and travel lots you only get charged the cost of a daily travelcard. They could have lived it up and headed out to zone 6, but then it was Sunday and they probably wouldn't be able to get home and there was always the danger that the card would be cancelled before they could use it again. They'd have to shell out for a cab or a hotel. It would be the worst crime ever.
I don't blame them for riding the bus for free and if they are ever caught I won't have them sent to the poor house. I might even take a tip from Oliver Twist and let them come and live in my townhouse and then later discover in an amazing "twist" of fate that they are my own grandchild. Which would be good as I'd hate to save any genuine working class urchins from a life of poverty.
If I found an oyster card on the floor I think I might use it too. So I deserve to have three pounds stolen from me. But I prefer to see myself as a benefactor. Providing transport for someone who might not be able to afford it, or maybe just another man quite like me who has enough money but decides to make the most of the opportunity.
Hope you enjoyed the ride. But I've cancelled the card now so your reign of terror is over.
Anyway it was mildly annoying at the time, but it was easy enough to pick up a new card (though that cost me five pounds - hold on this is all adding up, let's nick the bastard who put me through this) and my journey home wasn't too badly delayed (though I had to spend five minutes going through all my pockets and my wallet three times to check I wasn't just being a dumbass).
I hadn't really wanted to go out at all. It was cold and half-snowing and I was feeling pretty tired, but I'd agreed to do a tiny unpaid gig at the Leicester Square Theatre and so felt duty bound. The sit-com Gods had clearly decided to fuck with me again, having spotted how funny it would be slightly inconvenience me. When I got to the venue the front door was locked. Had I come to the wrong place? Had the gig been cancelled and no one had told me? I texted the promoter and got no reply. I tried to tweet the world to see if anyone knew what had happened. But nothing came back. I was very tempted to go home (though then I might have realised that my card was missing and thus stopped my Oyster Card being fraudulently used) but decided to hang around in Pret a Manger in the hope that I'd get a call. It didn't come for ages, but it turned out that the front door had been shut "accidentally" and no one had got my messages because they were too deep in the bowels of the building to get a signal.
I was glad I did the gig in the end. It was called Geekatorium celebrating all things nerdy (I don't know why I had been booked - clearly some kind of clerical error because I am cool). I thought it would be a chance to do my nostalgia comedy for 70s kids TV shows that no one remembers and some in depth analysis of The Lost Islands and Goodnight Sweetheart, though the youngish crowd knew nothing of the earlier shows and I think their Gary Sparrow knowledge was severely limited. But that was part of the point I suppose and it was good to be doing something different in a short set as I have become quite reliant on the same basic 20 minutes of material (or at least the first 10 with a few permutations for the second half). I read the Goodnight Sweetheart bit off a piece of paper, arguing not unreasonably that it wasn't worth learning it as I'd never do it again.
It was probably better than staying in and watching "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen". But only probably.
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