Sometimes, after hours in front of an LCD screen with legs crossed under a wooden desk, a body needs to get up and get going. At one of my previous jobs, I worked in the middle of the English countryside, and would blaze a trail (sadly, usually the same, already-blazed trail) at lunch before it got too cold to do so.
There are definite perks to working the Oxford city centre, but the immediately accessible, 20 minute walking route is not one of them. Too many shops, even more people.
Or so I thought.
It’s been grey and faux-raining (fraining?) here as it tends to in the autumn months. It’s as if tiny rain droplets are suspended in the air though the ground remains dry. Your face becomes wet as you walk, and there’s usually no wind. It’s – as far as I can tell – uniquely British weather.
In the spirit of getting into the weather, I took to the streets these past few days.
So much happens on the street.
I walked by a break-up, to the tune: “I can no longer walk next to you on the street with my head held high, Adam.”
I walked by a student smoking at the bus stop suddenly having an ancient finger poked in his chest by an elderly passer-by with, I assume, a mission to end tobacco use.
But best of all: I saw an employee of the new Formosa Tea Bar giving out free tea samples in (what to me are) communion cups. His tray was untouched as people walked by. He climbed into a bus to give a sample to the driver while it was parked in traffic – she smiled so widely I could almost hear it. Then two men walked by in painting clothes.
“Oy look! Free Tea” The taller man read the sign out to his friend. He grabbed a cup between two fingers and sniffed it.
His pal looked on suspiciously. “This aren’t no hot tea…”
His friend dipped a finger in to test the waters.
“What’s wrong with your tea?” The expression on his face was one of pity. He returned the cup to the tray and they walked away.
The tea sampler looked at his tray. He looked around him. He picked up the abandoned tea sample, held it at his side and discreetly poured it on the ground. Shuffled a few steps to the right and held his tray a bit higher.
He looked up with a big grin as I passed him.