Jane's door in London. A brilliant, chipped red signal of welcome in Islington. When first I saw it, I pressed my forehead against it like the pope kissing the tarmac, and not just because I have a thing for doors.
It was 9.30PM and I was Dead Woman Walking on a mixture of railway misinformation, Tube line closures and rain. Rain, especially, on the outside of the bus to which I was forced to resort, rain psychotropically smearing the brightly lit Saturday evening of London into an unparseable splodge of coloured chalk washed down the gutter; rain on the coats of everyone inside the bus, warmed into fog and plastered onto the windows, smokescreening the splodge into pastel shades of absolutely nothing you could pick out in the fucking A-Z, let me tell you.
A fabulously beautiful punk woman sat opposite me in black 20-ups, her hair standing precisely in tall and extremely acute eletric blue triangles, tapering into navy at the tip, like a spray of bunsen flames. She had bus-veteran mien. She'd know where the bus was on this route at any given moment blindfolded and with all the windows blacked out. A flicker of wry pity passed through her pink-shadowed eyes watching my nervous pomeranian-style angling and wuffling trying to work out where the hell we are. On her denims was a little yellow badge with the silhouette of a CCTV camera on it. Caption: OBEY.
By a miracle, or perhaps her milisecond of broadcast goodwill, I got off at the right stop, into the sheeting deluge. The wet world is friends with me and my map again. But not with my red chucks. I navigate with damp feet and my brown paper package safe in my woefully middle-class M&S bag for life. And through the curtain of cold asphalty droplets ...
Jane saw travel-trauma in my eyes. I drank red wine until my shoes dried out.