Thursday, October 12, 2006

A really strange call

My mobile just rang. The screen said Withheld number. Normally I don't answer those calls but this afternoon my Mum had called me and that was withheld, so I assumed it was her again.

But it was Quentin* (*Not his real name. Obviously.)
I haven't heard from Quentin for about five years, discounting three brief bumping-into-him moments that only seem to happen randomly in a city of six million and with people you'd rather not have bumped into.

"Hello Fwengebola", he said - although obviously using my real name and not the blog nom-de-plume I chose a month ago.
"QUENTIN!" I yelled in abject panic, loud enough for my large flatmate to overhear and cringe. (He remembers him.)

We quickly exchanged pleasantries. Then I asked him what the hell he wanted, more or less. After all... five years, bolt from the blue, What?

Q: "I'm at the ********"
F: "Right, ok."
Q: "And I kind of wanted to say something."
F: "Go on."
Q: "I respect you and I want you to go out and acheive all your goals and aspirations."
F: "Are you on drugs?"
Q: "No."

Quentin said 'No' in a very cheerful, matter-of-fact way, as if I'd asked him if he was Assyrian. This annoyed me as he never fucking got me, and people who don't get each other tend not to stay in touch. Clearly they do now.

F: "Well that is a very nice if completely odd thing to tell me for absolutely no reason, and I too genuinely wish you all the happiness and goal getting you deserve."

I did mean this. But I was hoping he'd say "Thanks" followed by "Well 'bye then", and perhaps 'click'. But he continued.

Q: "There's something else."
F: "Go on."
Q: "This place I'm at, they've got an event next week and I was wondering if you'd like to come."
F: "Is it a cult?"
Q: [Cheerfully] "No."
F: "Is it to do with God?"
Q: [Cheerfully] "No."
F: "Brainwashing?"
Q: [Cheerfully] "No."
F: "Scam?"
Q: [Cheerfully] "No."
F: "Free sex?"
Q: [Cheerfully] "No."

This last one I was hoping to hear a "Yes" for, but I just got yet another cheerful No delivered with excessive sincerity. Chuffnuts.

I couldn't make head nor tail of this. A few years ago, in the dying years of the previous millennium, I worked for the same company as Quentin until I left. When I last saw him, and I swear I'm not making this up, he was wearing a snorkel, goggles and flippers and handing out leaflets to commuters at Euston station. I was one of them. About a year before that, he was bestowing yoghurt pots upon pedestrians in Farringdon. Again, I was a bestowee.

Every time I see these people (cheerfully) doling out free crap, I often think 'Out-of-work fucking actors' as I try to avoid them. I guess it was only a matter of time before I bumped into Quentin who, apart from a stint at our previous employer, has always been pretty much an out-of-work fucking actor.

So he's invited me to this seminar next week. I'm going. I took a look at their website and obstensibly they want your money, but the induction's free so fuck it. I'm always complaining that I want to do more stuff and there must be more to life, so I may as well catch up with The Planet's Hairiest Unemployed Thespian and see what the women are like there.

Christ, I'm pathetic.

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