Driving round town

Waiting to pick someone up from Heathrow today it struck me how many passengers were coming out of the gate wearing little white masks. I checked the arrivals. San Francisco. Madrid. LA. Grand Cayman via Nassau. Nowhere on the list of places that are considered to be problematic…

The masks are terribly ostentatious. Over the years I’ve grown used to seeing them worn by East Asian people on public transport. My initial thought, years ago, was “Do they think we are all dirty?” until someone hauled me up and taught me : “It’s a courtesy. They do it because they’ve got a cold and they don’t want to spread it.”

Trust us in the West to just assume that it’s done out of fear of the other, and then to do it ourselves for that reason at the first opportunity. Those masks will just be annoying to the people wearing them. If people really want to avoid catching a virus they’ll need proper respirators like the one I’ve got that says “Josh”.

But there are posters all over the airport, suggesting you self isolate if you’ve been to various countries. I wonder how many people will though? Hard to self isolate without symptoms…


Jobs are getting cancelled abroad now even though the death toll to infection rate is still pretty low. Secret Cinema all emerged blinking back to London after their Chinese tour was cancelled. It’s made a lot more work for us as well on the TV show I’m helping fix and drive for, because they were going to go out east but have now decided to do a double show here instead. Twice the work! It won’t affect me much apart from being able to find even more jobs for even more friends. I’d be working those days anyway. I’ll just be working more.

I reckon about 50 people I know personally now being gainfully employed because three or four years ago Brian put me in touch with a man called Kester who organised to meet me for an interview for event staff work somewhere in East London. I arrived at the place and he was late. There were loads of people standing round, and a van with the back door open and the hazards on.

“Is Kester here?” I asked. “No. We’re waiting for him.” “What are you supposed to be doing?” “We have to load this stuff into the van.” “Ok. So let’s go. You do this I’ll do this etc etc.” By the time he arrived the van was almost loaded. Now, a few years later, his old company trusts me to find people with a bit more gumption than that lot. Plus I get to drive lots. And I do like driving lots.

Although I do see now why some drivers have a sticker saying “If you have a preferred route, state it now.” I’ve learnt to drive with terrible backseat drivers. Road placement, jolts, braking etc. Those guys – I can usually make them forget they’re in a car, which is the trick.

But this guy always knows the best route so wherever we are he’s wondering why we aren’t going three roads south. It’s not so much that he’s actually interested. More that it’s important we all know he knows the roads. I’m using live traffic on waze. It’s usually pretty accurate.

Tedious bugger. He’s on three times my wage and more. I’d prefer it if he just zipped it up.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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