Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents. And everyone is writing a book. – Attr. Cicero
I wish it could write that it was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were just striking thirteen. Or at least, that it was a dark and stormy night. But quite frankly, it was none of those things. It was April though, but not the cold bright kind that Orwell wrote about, but the post-April-showers drizzily kind that most residents of Britain actually experience.
I had arrived in Hull, where I was – in fact still am, an honorary staff member for a talk on philosophy. I was really looking forward to it. I knew that in about four months I would be moving to Japan, and was very much treating every visit to my Alma Mater as if it were my last. This would be my tri-ultimate.
I came through the ticket gate, about ten to three, dying for a pee. I delve into my pockets; and extract the requisite twenty pence and ten pence. I stumble towards the turnstile that precedes the entrance to the toilets. And it’s a long queue. About ten people in front of me, and not a typical April day, it is rainy and warm. So about four minutes later I am at the front of the queue, and about to slide my money into the turnstile slot. The queue behind me was already growing restless – it was quite a long queue and uncommonly busy. As I bent down to put the money into the slot I tripped and dropped the money, as I bent down further to pick it up, the man behind me, about six foot tall, booted me on the backside. And continued kicking. I managed to get to my feet. Turned round to see a fist coming my way. I ducked. Unsuccessfully. Thankfully, but this point, the Transport police had noticed, and a boy in blue pulled me over the ticket barrier and bundled me in to the toilet reserved for disabled people.
Where at least, I got relief.
A few minutes later I emerged. Still shaken, but at least with an empty bladder. The policeman asked me if I wanted to press charges. I said I did not. He looked surprised. ‘Why not, sir?’ I responded, by say that this was the third time I had been attacked in five years, and that I no longer saw the point in pressing charges.
It was four months before I left for Japan. I would be attacked twice again.
The philosophy talk was really good.