Saturday, 23 June 2007
Last bastion of the Gods
We drove along listening to the radio, it should have been raining but it was a beautiful clear sunny morning. I thought luck was with me then and I think I may have even whistled a little. Things were good.
She was sad, she hid it, but I could feel it in my gut, like a tension, like there was some kind of umbilical chord that went between us. It got like this with any girl, it was sex that connected us up. I wondered how guys could keep three or four relationships going at once, it must have worked to suck them dry, must have felt like they were being punched. How in hell did they fend off all that emotion coming at them down that tube? Connected by the gut to four women, there were some tough ass guys out there, I concluded.
I struggled on with mine, the sense of impending freedom worked like a ballast against the pressure she was pushing out on me. It wasnt her fault. People were emotion, and that pressure cut into the open wound. This is how fights started, I thought.
I turned the radio up a bit to distract myself from thinking about it. I was intent on having a good day. The sun was shining, it should have been raining. I wasnt going to miss England very much.
We joined a queue of traffic,
'Looks like we arent the first here' I said.
'Are they normally this busy?' she asked, it was the first time she had been to a car boot sale. It was my second.
'Maybe' I replied.
As we waited in the queue that slowly edged forward one car at a time I listened to the radio. It was Radio London or something, not one I usually listened to. The DJ was talking a lot,
We want to hear from you if you have any special places you go to in London, spiritual places, places that give you that sense of peace. Give us a call and tell us about them. We are looking for places of refuge in the city. Spiritual places. The number is .....
'That's odd to hear on the radio, is this a religious station or something?' I said
'What is?' she said, her head was bobbing sideways, I guess she was hearing a music of her own, waiting for the next tune to come on. But it had interested me. I fumbled about in my bag and pulled out my mobile phone, then waited for the DJ to give the number out again.
I rang the station and spoke to a girl, had a quick chat, and she seemed eager for me to talk to the DJ. It felt strange, I realised I wasnt used to people wanting to hear what I had to say,
'Mark, can we ring you back I know they would like to get you on air, you have some interesting stuff to say.'
'Sure, no problem' I said a little shocked. I gave her my number.
I was standing outside the car as it was slowly edging towards the entrance. I got out because I knew the radio would feedback otherwise. I tapped on the window and she rolled it down.
'They are going to put me on air' I said.
'Wow, cool!' she said and got all excited. I felt impending fame and respect. Spiritual shit, yea that was my forte.
The DJ came on and I was surprised at his politeness. I guess Sunday morning DJ's arent so fickle and feisty as the other ones. I always thought radio dj's were defeated people, they generally seemed bitter and sarcastic. Reminded me of small terrier dogs with ginger coats, I had no idea why, maybe it was the incessant yapping.
'Hey Mark, how are you doing today, thanks for calling in. So you have some spiritual places you go to in London when you want to get away from the city right?' He paused at this point. I figured that was my cue.
'Hi, yea that's right' I said and paused the same. I felt it had begun well.
There was a brief silence, during which I thought that it must be pretty tough being a DJ. I could have thrown any word into it all then, good or bad, could have ruined his day. I thought better of it.
'Do you want to tell us about some of them' He offered, just to confirm to me he was waiting for me to start talking.
I began slowly, I thought he might butt in and take over but he didnt, he let me talk. So I got up to normal pace.
I listed a couple of sights like Neils Yard and St James Church in Piccadilly. Explained why I felt they were relevant. I was saving the biggies for last but then I got intrigued by how many people were listening. I asked him but he swerved answering. I wondered if it was just me and the girl.
Then as I was about to tell him the last few, I had a sudden flash and it dawned on me that this was exactly the kind of mistake people made. They found some place; a paradise, a heaven, a secret garden and in the desire to share it, they told someone about it, that was the beginning of the end. History proved this, and it hit me then that I was making a big mistake. I no longer wanted to talk. Fuck fame and getting off on my own knowledge. This was an error.
'Mark you said there was one real special place, you want to tell us about that' he said.
'Look, I dont think I can' I said. There was a silence.
'Come on, I think it is important to share these things with people.' he said.
'I did,' I said 'but now I dont' there was another pause. I felt I might be annoying him.
'The trouble is that if I tell your listeners, for all I know you have a million people listening to this show right now, then the special place is going to become like a tourist spot and thats going to ruin it for me. I am sorry, I think I have given you enough.' I thanked him and put the phone down. I could have just ruined the last bastions of refuge in this stinking concrete jungle.
I got back in the car. she looked at me with a shrug as if to say, what was that about.
I just smiled. I didnt think I could have explained it. The car got the wave from a man with a beard and dirty clothes who stood on the gate, and we pulled into the field to unload. I was selling the last of my worldly possessions. I was leaving England, I was leaving her, I was leaving everything. The sun shone, it was a good day. And there was one last spiritual bastion still standing that the enemy didnt know about.