Monday, October 22, 2001

As I walked intensely and determinedly home, I saw a group of children – ten year old boys – stopping briefly for a man passing them. As I wondered what the interaction entailed and the man, thirtysomething, greying, walked towards me, he raised his hand as if, perhaps, to admonish me for thinking ill of him. Then, smoothly, the movement seemed to change to the quotidian sight of the wave that accompanies a nutjob’s quiet dialogue with a mute world. Just as I passed, with the brief, strange challenge that neurotic moments bring, I saw that he was bouncing the back of his hand against a suburban wall, as I had when a child. I would sometimes even run two fingers along the walls and hedges, extending out for jumps, sprinting a tiny man along privet. In this moment I saw an innocence, a freshness, a hidden place inside everyone. Hairbrush singers, biro drummers, the bizarre semi-inflation of the cheeks that accompanies absent-minded tuba impressions by impatient middle-aged men.

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