The Price of HeroismSubmitted by w_t_a_y_s_t_r_m at 2007-08-08 07:35:56 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 39 ratings (39 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
A few weeks ago I was stood innocently in Waterloo train station, awaiting the arrival of my mum who was coming up to visit for the day. My girlfriend Jo and I had arrived there a little early to make sure that we'd be there on time to save my mum the daunting task of waiting around for us.
We had five minutes to kill, so we decided to play our favorite game called Arguing in Public About Stuff Neither of Us Really Care About. I assume I won the game because she shut-up eventually and looked the other way. Her mistake was to turn away as she missed one of the strangest things I've seen or done. Like a blur a person sprinted past me. This dude was definitely in a hell of a rush to reach his train at the far end of the station and he couldn't wait for anything, including his book, which his backpack spat out. It landed squarely at my feet.
Without really thinking about it, I picked the book up and called at the guy, who couldn't hear me or didn't want to hear me. Instead of doing the true London thing and just stealing the book, I took up the race and sprinted after the guy.
God only knows what possessed me, but in that moment I felt like a fucking superhero. In my mind I knew how it would go from here:
- He would reach his train in the nick of time
- Exhausted he would settle down to read his book that he was enjoying
- His book would not be there and he would not be happy
- He would begin tearing the place up in a rage, much like the Hulk, but with good reason
- He would roar "WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE CHASE ME WITH MY BOOK?" while biting a child in half
And I knew it would take a superhero like me to avert such a situation. So I carried on sprinting, dodging men, women, children and pets the whole way. For some reason he found a clear path up the full length of the station, while I was stuck ducking, diving, hurdling and dodging the assholes who got in my way.
I have no idea at what point I would have stopped if I couldn't actually catch the guy, because I smoke and drink heavily, eat shit food and do no exercise and he seemed to be in quite good shape, based on the splotch of person shaped colour that had flown past me.
Would I have beaten done the people checking the tickets at the entrance to the platform? Possibly
Would I have ran onto the train after him? More than likely
Would I then pay the fare to get back home after being stranded in God knows where? Yes
But in that moment of pure, mild heroism I didn't mind.
It also didn't escape me that I was currently sprinting through a train station, a bulky looking bag on my back, panic on my face that only unexpected exercise can bring, with overgrown facial hair giving me a distinctly Muslim look at first glance. So I also expected to get tackled by a group of anti-terror police with pepper spray and dogs. Luckily that didn't happen. What happened was much worst.
It would seem that the reason his book fell out of the bag wasn't because it hadn't been placed in all the way, but more because the bag had split. Next thing I know I'm following a trail of clothes towards him, hoping to return his book and stop him from eating a child in anger.
As I sidestepped a lost t-shirt, I ended up placing a foot right in between a discarded pair of boxer shorts. My foot caught them and lifted them, instantly tangling my other foot in them.
So not only was I chasing this stranger with his book, I looked like I was trying to put his underwear on in the process.
Anyone who has tried to get dressed whilst drunk after drilling an ugly girl will be able to tell you two things:
- Never look at the girl you just woke up next to, because you had to be drunk for a reason
- Boxer shorts aren't convenient to get on whilst in a hurry
That second fact is even truer when you already have trainers and quite baggy jeans on.
I hit the floor like the big sack of shit that I actually am. The book left my hand and slide along the ground to the man who had already stopped after realising that he now had nothing inside his bag, who just grabbed it, threw it back in the bag, which he was holding upside down and then hurriedly grabbed everything else of his that had scattered along the station. Moving down, past me, he carried on getting his stuff, including pulling his shorts away from my trainers. And then, without a word of thanks or an offer to help me up, he carried on sprinting to his platform.
I kind of just stayed where I was, thinking about what had just happened, wondering if one of the busiest train stations in the country actually had that many people in it on a Saturday morning and how many of them might have seen something and then risked a glance around to see.
Yep. It can have that many people. And that's twice as many eyes as people watching you. Some laughed, some looked disgusted and others just looked. Deciding whether to fake retardness to get some sympathy and some help, or to just pass out and hope that I'd get a free ride home in an ambulance, I opted for the manly choice. I jumped to my feet, brushed myself off and slowly limped my way back to my girlfriend, who still hadn't turned back to face me.
"What the hell happened to you?" Was the jist of what she said as she turned to see why I was panting so heavily.
"Just...saved a child...from getting eaten..." I gasped.
"Oh fuck you!" She said and turned away.
I think I won that argument as well.