Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'll be on video somewhere....

....I just know it.

Many moons ago, I was a young and carefree Aussie backpacker living in London. There was always an array of slightly dodgy and usually unattractive jobs that were readily available to those of us prepared to do anything to fund our love of travel, cider and the stratospheric rent requirements.

As such, I was working as a debt collector for a major banking firm. It was the most miserable of jobs; phoning people already on the brink of breakdowns or bankruptcy to order them to pay up or get ready for the bailiff. Desperate people would literally post in their keys, only to be told by our legal department that they in fact owed more money than their house would get if sold, or our investigators would advise that they'd fled, leaving nothing but smashed windows and s**t-smeared walls as an indicator of their view of the economic climate. My shift would start in the afternoons and go into late evening so that I had a better chance of catching the 'malignant mortgagees' at home.

It was a bright sunny day in June, and I was strolling down a small lane in King's Cross. I had my leather work satchel in one hand and a large bag of just-purchased oranges in the other. Cheap fruit and nice weather was enough to boost my spirits before starting my next soul-destroying session at the bank. Heading towards the train station, I was aware of a red double-decker bus inching along the road, providing a running commentary to the camera-clicking tourists on board.

"Kings Cross is an infamous part of London to be in when night falls, but is safe during the day." the man holding the microphone droned on. I fancied that I made the area look even brighter and safer by the fact of me being there, wearing a happy grin and a lovely floaty dress and sandals (if it was even remotely warm I was so starved for sun that any form of summer clothing was dragged out of mothballs and worn).

At that very moment, a sudden - and cruel - gust of wind shot up the street and immediately blew my skirt up over my head. There was nothing I could do: both my hands were full and the occupants on the red bus hooted with laughter and punctuated it with the whirr of video cameras and digital phones.

I was so embarrassed I ducked for cover into the first shop I saw and slammed the door shut. Turning around, I discovered that I'd walked into a very seedy betting and tattoo parlour and all of the male occupants were looking at me appreciatively. "Loved the show you put on out there darlin'," smirked a bloke that Jack the Ripper would back away from. He did, at least, take note of my mortified face and tried to console me with, "But at least they only saw your knickers and not your face, eh?"

Emerging hastily back outside, I kept my head down and hurried walked towards Kings Cross station. It was trousers for me from then on.


Naomi said...

Great post Kath....the description of what happened did make me laugh though...hey I wonder how many times your video has been played then???

Terence McDanger said...

At least you were actually wearing knickers. What if it had been a really hot day and you'd literally thrown caution to the wind?

Kath Lockett said...

Luckily for everyone who witnessed it, Terence, the 'Britney' hadn't been invented then!

TOM said...

Hmmm, did they have you tube then..maybe I'll find you there!!

PS you have been declared this weeks winner at Tom's Trivia Challenge!! You know where to read about it!!

Congrats (-:

PS 2: Todays is easy but the rest of the week will be more challenging!

Deep Kick Girl said...

I had a very similar experience. It was 1984, I had my first (dream) job as a junior in the HCF art department. I was strolling down Market Street to the art store to buy some sheets of Letraset (is it just me who breaks out into a cold sweat at the mere mention of this long gone product?). I was wearing my very fashionable silver grey parachute fabric ra-ra skirt. The damn skirt was so light I didn't even feel it blow up my back and stood at the lights on the corner of York Street for quite some time with my skirt flat up against my back before a kindly hoon driving by in his hotted up car kindly notified me of my little problem.

Oh, the shame!

(Not to split hairs MM but I don't believe cameras had phones during this period in history. Possibly they were still brick size and did little more than actually make poor quality phone calls.)

Kath Lockett said...

You're right, Deep Kick Girl. By video cameras I mean the old shoebox-filled-with-bricks that tourists (mostly Dads) would have permanently indenting their shoulders.... There were more than a few on that bloody red bus, believe me!

Baino said...

Haha . . embarrassing but funny. And a lot more exciting than returning from the ladies loo with your skirt tucked in your knickers and nobody telling you for 40 minutes!