If there is such a thing as karma then myself, PB and Mickey now have enough of it stacked up to allow us to push over several children, kick some puppies and punch an old lady. Not that I believe in that sort of thing, but there is a small part of me that after last night’s gallant events, we have somehow absorbed enough good will that within the cosmic system we must be owed something to balance out the way of the universe. I wish it did work like that. I’m constantly nice and yet usually what happens is that things are generally disappointing and you question just why you’ve spent so much time being nice to people when it’d have been far more satisfying just to set fire to the bank when they insist you have to queue all over again just to go to the next counter along because your counter ‘can’t take Euros’. But nonetheless, being helpful is a good thing and none of us thought twice about helping a man who’s stupidity really should have meant we left him be.
Strolling our way to Victoria Park to see the fireworks display like three excitable children, we noticed a man cycling along with a huge Ikea flatpacked bookcase carried in a backpack on his bag as unsafely as possible. To say the very tall and heavy object was secure, wobbling side to side against the rather thin man’s frame would be like saying Ann Widdicombe’s skin snugly fits her body. Not only did he seem to be tempting danger with this item, but he had hung several bags of small mirrors and other items of home furnishing tittle tattle off either side and was strenuously peddling along the pavement as thought it were as steep as the side of Everest. We sniggered a bit when we first noticed him as he managed to get the top of the bookcase stuck between a traffic light and a road sign and took some negotiation wriggling out of it and remaining upright, but then as he cycled past us, his bicycle completely toppled to the left and he was trapped on the roadside unable to get back up. Stifling giggles, PB ran to help him up and I assisted in balancing the unwieldy shelves. It turned out he had been all the way to Ikea in Edmonton and cycled with this collection of heavy goods all the way to Clapton Road (about 7 miles for you non-Londoners), but then somewhere along the way something in the bag had snapped and it had all become rather difficult. He didn’t seem to acknowledge at any point that what he was doing was completely ridiculous, dangerous and surely would have been made easier by getting it delivered or using a car. Still we got him back on his bike and watched as he made it across the road and proceeded to topple over like a weeble that had gone horribly wrong.
Running over we found he was only going two minutes down the road, and so with PB and Mickey carrying bits of his other purchases and me wheeling his bike, the man carried the bookcase on his back like a pathetic World’s Strongest Man event. He told us he was fairly healthy and thought he’d be able to carry it, but its height and centre of gravity was all wrong. Mickey said it was very long in shape and without irony he said he’d ‘held longer things before.’ Once again we tried our best to keep straight faces. It became more and more difficult as he started to tell us about how it reminded him of travelling from Russia to Paris and Mickey insisted on asking him why he carried a bookcase that far. He remained oblivious to any kind of humour, though admittedly if I had a crapload of wood on my back I would too. Eventually we got him to the door and he had to get Paul and me to help him sit down so he could wriggle free and go indoors. Mickey rang the doorbell and a confused looking flatmate came out. When we explained her friend was on the floor with a bookcase, she glanced out in the most non-plussed manner, said hello to him, asked him why he’d bought a bookcase and then went back indoors. We refused his offer of a drink as a thanks, he called us ‘angels’ and with our small halos around our head skipped off to firework fun. And yes, we did skip in places. PB also brought up how we probably should have, in terms of survival of the fittest and evolution, just left him where he was as he was clearly an idiot. Had we not been there, how long would he have been trapped by shelves? Usurped by storage? Who knows. What I do know however is that Ghandi can eat my shoes for I helped an idiot get home and for that I think we all deserve tiny hearts of gold.
The fireworks was excellent too. Although it was put together in memory of the Bethnal Green tube disaster and yet the display included air raid sirens, as well as 1940’s music and a crap load of explosions. I can’t help but feel for any survivors of the incident that took place during the second world war, that this would seem slightly mocking and provoke unnecessary flashbacks and nightmares. Still, it was very pretty.