Saturday, 25 September 2010

Written 23/9 Denver
Travel was fine until passport control in Denver. You have to press the four fingers of each hand on to a screen. You can imagine the chaos that ensued when my right hand was scanned. They had to take a whole separate scan of the famous finger. I didn’t dare give any clever answers to the customs bloke, whose approach to the whole thing was to be critical of my deformity and to question my sanity. Fortunately nothing he said was either new, or remotely in the same class as the  bullying I receive on a daily basis at Wellington. 
There was a bar a block ( that is about 400 yards to you and me ) away from my inexpensive but adequate hotel. I was tired at 3.00 a.m. BST but set myself a task of having one beer and a maximum of an hour to talk to anyone who felt like it.
In the end , I spoke to three people.  Mike was into the final stages of an extended day in which he had enjoyed his first beer at 12.30. It was not easy to piece together the disjointed information I gathered and the combination of drawl and slur meant that what I did glean may not be totally accurate. If I am correct, he has a week to find a place to live. The fault lies totally with the federal government and he did not hold back on Barack Obama, on whose Hawaiian, immigrant shoulders he squarely laid the blame. It was not a comfortable conversation and I did not prolong it, sensing that he would want to unload more than I needed to hear and might well then attach himself to me. From what I could gather, his marriage had broken up and having worked hard for 18 years, all he had left were some clothes, a meagre welfare allowance,  a rapidly diminishing pack of Marlboro lights and a glass of Budweiser.
Charlie and Carrie were an oddly matched couple. He wore the remnants of a smart work suit and she was prettily dressed in a short khaki skirt and deck shoes. He did all the talking. He wasn’t very interesting. Something to do with IT, a guaranteed eye glazer, working ‘out of’ downtown Denver. Did he mean ‘in’ when he said ‘out of’? Another example of the evolutionary nature of our language and how two opposite ideas can come to mean the same thing. Wicked.
It wasn’t untilI got back to my hotel that I realised that Carrie was almost certainly a hooker. She was much younger than Charlie, her hem line was bordering on the indecent and her jet black hair was either dyed or Hispano-Gaelic in origin.   The make up was just too liberally applied, especially around the eyes, which always seems to me to suggest that the wearer is trying to hide something.
I didn’t stay after the one drink I had. As I left Mike was slithering off his bar stool in the direction of the restroom ( I don’t know what others do in there but I wouldn’t describe it as ‘restful’ ) and Charlie was whispering something,  either slanderous about me or suggestive about the rest of the evening ,into Carrie’s ear.
I bet Carrie isn’t her real name.

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