Wednesday, 5 March 2008

While scribbling

I was scribbling in my notebook about Moses being stoned, high up on that mountaintop  on a train back from Liverpool. I stopped , put my pen down and the woman sitting across from me asked: "Are you writing a book?

"One day. But I'm a journalist for now."

"You're a bit young to be a journalist, aren't you?"

I shrugged, jotted something down.

"I dabbled myself, you know," she said, etching the air with her finger to illustrate what she meant. "It's nice to see something, to scribble it down."

I shrugged again. "It's more of a disease for me. But I'm writing a story about the Beatles for a paper back home, cramming as much Beatles tourism in a day as I can. It's a travel story."

She nodded, said: "I lived through the birth of the Beatles, you know. I wasn't actually there--I'm from Manchester, out that way--but I grew up with it. Grew up with them in the 60s. It was really quite exciting."

I love meeting these people, ex-hippie types, the nostalgic misfits of a time  my generation can only fathom through the music and photo stills and our imaginations. I smirked. "So you lived through the 60s?" She nodded. "How was that?"

She smiled, gazed out the window at the rolling green passing us by. She had the wrinkled, weathered face of a person who had, indeed, been there. She went there again, just for a moment. She came back and said: "It was alright, you know. People seem to think of it as quite daring but when you look back, it's not nearly as bad as what we have now, in Britain anyway. These people getting all drunk and beating each other up..."

"When you think about it, maybe all that LSD they were taking was better than all this booze they have now."

She nodded and gazed out the window again. "It was wonderful then. Really."

"I see then as the beginning of the world we have now. The catalyst for all this degeneracy, the bullshit" I said. I didn't realize I felt that way until it came out. And there it was. She nodded. She agreed with me.

"It'll come full circle again," she said. "It can't stay this way forever."

"Sure. It's going to happen sooner than later, I think. We can all feel it...building. Something's got to give. It's kind of scary when you think about it." I paused, said: "It could be better than what we have now."

"It better be, anyway," she said. She kept talking but I zoned out. The train was approaching Preston station and I gathered my belongings, bundled them in my lap.

I came back, listened to her say: "..I'm not a religious person by any means. I'm bit of everything..." I nodded. I zoned out again, I noticed the book she was reading. Cosmic Ordinance. My innards stirred. I felt something building, a climax of sorts. The train pulled up, stopped and I got up to leave. She remained seated, probably on her way to Blackpool.

And then she said: "...it's like Moses with the burning bush, up there on the mountain--"
I cut her off, said: "Do you have any idea what I was just writing about? Moses! I was writing about Moses, on the mountain!"

She smiled and her eyes twinkled up at me. She tapped her book with a finger, tapped her temple three times. "Good luck to you," she said.

"Yeah." I stumbled out to the platform, head stirring. I found the closest seat and started scribbling.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I love this.