On the wrong side of the (smoking) law
When I was in the UK, I wanted to see as many friends as possible. “Come to Brighton,” suggested KR, so I came. After a suitably decadent Friday night, KR was up brighton early (sorry!) to go to work, and I was at the train station. With a lamentably heavy “overnight” bag. (My packing problems are documented here, and here). In the rain.
I was only due back in London that evening but, despite my heavy load and the shite weather, I was tempted to spend the day exploring Brighton. First up, I asked a policeman at the station if there was anywhere to leave my bag. Now, KR had already informed me that there wasn´t, but I figured there was no harm in a second opinion. The policeman dispelled any lurking doubts with a brusque retort: “We don´t have lockers. Terrorists are likely to put a bomb in them.”
I was tempted to reply: “And Eid Mubarak to you to sir,” for it was indeed Eid, but figured that wouldn´t go down too well.
I decided to have a cigarette while I pondered my plans for the day. I went and stood outside the station, but under the shelter, due to the rain. At which point the policeman chased after me, to inform me that the station was a no-smoking area. Apparently, you can´t just be outside the actual building to smoke, you have to walk a few metres to outside the station gates, because what I took to be outside is still technically part of the station.
Pernickety fucking Brits. In Zurich, you can smoke in the train station itself. However, I duly had my cigarette outside in the rain, as I am scared to death of the British police. Gone is the image of the friendly bobby from my childhood; instead I live in fear that one of the paranoid freaks will randomly gun me down just because.
The altercation had put me in a defiant mood. “Damn my packing skills, and the bloody weather,” I reasoned: “When am I ever likely to be in Brighton again?” So I set off for the pier weighed down by my bag, but buoyed up by an intrepid spirit.