Saturday, November 22, 2008

Night Work

For those of you who are afficionados of Irwin Shaw, you will know that this was one of his earlier works - and rather better than most of his more recent offerings.
I was reminded of it as I made my way through the night to Luton Airport - where my family insist I have my second family who live somewhere between checkin and the departure lounge.
For reasons too dull to recount, I ended up in Luton bus station at midnight - with an hour to wait for the bus to take me to the airport.
Of course, there was nothing open, apart from a shop that sold chocolate and hired taxis, and the chap behind the counter reminded me of the hero of " Night Work" - only there for the money and the off-chance.
As I've remarked before, the creatures that inhabit the overnight travel world are an exotic bunch. Waiting for a bus to Edinburgh were a group of 2 girls and 3 boys from America who were going to Edinburgh. They were clearly doing the Europe on USD5 a day thing, and were delightedly telling each other what an adventure they were having. They took pictures of each other huddled together against the cold, and one of them got out his sleeping bag and got into it.
Another fellow traveller was on his way to Berwick - having done his boss out of a train ticket cost and was taking the bus to save money.
But back to the vendor of chocolate. He also sold hot drinks and Pot Noodles.
None of the things in the shop actually had a price, apart from the coffee which was GBP1.49.
I've no idea what the price of Pot Noodle is, although I have eaten it in the past. The shopkeeper managed to sell three to the American boys for GBP12, which I'm sure is OTT.
Of course, he did supply them with hot water ( and a plastic fork), explaining all the time that Pot Noodle was a kind of health food that people in the UK used to enhance their well-being.
Now I suppose I could have told them what rubbish this was, and that Pot Noodle was almost a cliched joke in the UK, but I was interested to get their reaction to it.
They duly followed the instructions and stirred for the required time.
They tentatively tried it. Their faces gave nothing away.
One of the boys offered a girl a taste. She took a tiny nibble.
The boys started eating more confidently.
The girl who had tried it went and bought herself one.
Still nothing was said.
They finished the pots and threw them in the bin.
" Well," said a boy" I guess that's what they call an acquired taste. But I can feel it doing me good. Maybe we should take some home."

1 comment:

Winchester whisperer said...

Golly - I would have thought they were under £1.