This morning I took my time leaving Brighton. Back up to the smoke. It’s almost as if the city knew that I was back. I had been there for less than an hour when my phone rang. This is what London is for. “Hi, are you around?”
This is an old old friend of mine from school days. I don’t have many people left over from back then. I was being bullied by large quantities of unimaginative children, and he completely failed to comprehend the bullying. He’s swiss, and he’s practical. He saw no sense in bullying so he chose friendship instead. He did it very well too, and that earnest way has held him strong ever since. He’s a beautiful human.
We drove from mine to his in his convertible Jag.
I found myself channeling shared memories. Decades ago I went to Paris to hang out with him. We were basically kids, but well connected in the same world. Vehicles and speed. One of his friends had a father very high up in the Paris police, and the two of us got on. One Saturday night, the three of us were driving through town with police boy at the wheel driving his dad’s plain clothes car, and he very knowingly got me to put the magnetic siren out of the glove compartment full of wires, through my window and onto the roof. At the age of twenty something I drove through Paris in a cop car with the siren blaring just above my head. In order to go to a bar. It was a strong memory of a successful transgression. It took place just in a time where such a naughtiness was still possible. Nowadays, too many logs. Too many cameras. He’d have got fucked.
We just lived it though. He cut through all the lights and went down loads of restricted pathways. I’m chalking that up as a win vs Marianne Faithfull, even if it isn’t a convertible sportscar. At the age of 27 I knew that I had already driven through Paris in a cop car, having placed the beacon myself…
I remember once sharing that experience in a bar when people were telling similar experiences. I remember one of the forgettable people in the bar doing that thing I get quite often when they forensically break down my memory looking for inconsistencies because they think I’m making it up. All that happened was that I said “yes” enough that it led me to a colourful experience. Too many people have turned out a “no” so often they start to resent the humans who still prickle. “Surely he would have lost his father’s police licence doing that. Surely it must have got him into trouble?” These questions, asked with the hope that the answer is yes. Because the asker wishes it. In order to justify the way they’ve switched off their life for safety. I mentioned the memory to my friend this evening. “Nobody ever believed me when I said that,” he told me. Ach. People are so bruised.
I enjoyed that irresponsible Paris evening, and it does linger in my memory, along with so many other ones. Maybe it was a disgusting abuse of privilege and everybody involved deserves to be executed.
I’ve had an interesting time thus far just from saying yes. Long may it continue. I’m not expecting such abuse of power now. But it was lovely to see my old dear friend, just for an evening. Again soon, I hope.