The man, in his fifties, was walking along Platform 5 at Sydenham Station. He was bald (or perhaps his head was deliberately shaved) except he had a little rat tail a couple of inches long right at the base of his skull, which was dyed platinum blond and hung down just over his collar. He wore wraparound sunglasses and one of those dress shirts with a skate company’s crazy logo splotched all over it, like it had been tagged with graffiti. Also very baggy jeans. He had a pouty mouth and a bleeding cut on his face (presumably from shaving). In his hand, in an empty plastic vitamin bottle lined with aluminium foil, he carried a small bouquet of wilted blue flowers. He hadn’t gotten off the train that had just pulled in, nor did he seem interested in getting on it. He was just walking along the platform, on some romantic errand.
First I only wore Chuck Taylor hightops (14-27). Then I only wore elastic-sided boots, mostly Blundstones (27-44). Then a podiatrist said I needed proper footwear with proper support and told me what to get. Nondescript brown shoes. I looked down at my feet with them on. Old man feet. But he was right; my foot stopped hurting. However, one of the shoes squeaks with every step. A grating, creaky squeak, like a tightening rope in a ship’s rigging. It might not be so bad if it was both of them, at least, but it’s only the one. Also that one’s lace keeps coming untied.
At that intersection, the side road tees into the main road at slightly sharper than a right angle; 60 or 70 degrees maybe. Not sharp enough that you notice anything unusual coming into it, but once you’re in it you have to turn pretty hard. Also the side road slopes downhill, having just come over the train line, so you find yourself going a bit faster than you mean to as you enter that intersection. At a certain time of day, the sun’s angle beams right into the intersection, bathing it in dazzling sunlight. If you happen to be sitting at the red light facing northbound on the main road at the right time of day, you get this succession of brilliantly-illuminated tableaux of people’s face, surprised by the sharper-than-expected turn and sudden sun in their face, going too fast, flipping down their sun visors, and hanging on against the centrifugal force as they turn sharply. Or is it centripetal force? I can never get those straight.