All / On the Way to Work

On the Way to Work, Part 3

Series of short blogs about things I see on the way into work.

22 Feb 11
Every morning on my way into work I pass a woman coming the other way.  She’s never acknowledged my presence, always busily focusing on something ahead. Her movement is so regular that I can tell exactly how late I am by where I pass her.  If I meet her between the British Museum and Senate House Library, all is well.  Still okay if I pass her crossing Gower Street by the School of Tropical Hygiene building with its gilded bugs and animals.  If I pass her on Store Street I need to quicken my pace, and if she’s already reached Tottenham Court Road by the time I pass her I might as well take my time because I am past the point of no return.

She’s always pulling a bag behind her, one of those sort of shopping cart things.  And she is always dressed in what might best be termed 1950s drag.  The makeup is just a little sharp, the hairdo just a little overwrought, to look like she really is from the 50s.  But her finger curls are plastered meticulously to her head, her hair drawing up impeccably in the back.  Her clothes are always of a cut and fabric (if not colors) and her shoes of a height and fashion to call back those days.  I don’t know where she goes but she doesn’t smile, and though I initially suspected the arcane bookstore on Store Street, when I was late one time I discovered it was beyond that she traversed.  Perhaps one day I’ll find out.