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Stalking the Average Man


-You're well travelled, | he said, giving me hope.
At the age of twenty-two, I may not have been as mature as parents hope their children will
be, but I wasn't stupid: Michael had a tan, and I had overheard Gunkle talking about vacations
when I first approached the duo so I translated Michael‘s remark to mean, -Have you been to...? |
I said the Navy had taken me to more places than most young people get to see, then I
rattled off my ports of call, adding some logical stops in the hope of finding common ground.
-Ah …Spain, | he said wistfully. -I just came back from there. |
Which was good, but not as good as Portugal would have been; I imported an infamous strip
of bars from Lisbon to Malaga.
At this point, Mike leaned forward to talk to John, not his boss's one o'clock, and I risked
mentioning a particularly active attraction for seafaring men I had heard much about.
Apparently, one house stood out from the mass of green and rose pastels because it was painted
in distinctive Navy grey.
Gently closing a predominantly unread packet of altered truths, a scholastically somber
Michael said he hadn't seen it himself, but he could imagine that the wear path in the
cobblestones would make it easy to find. Taking a solemn breath, he said my experiences and
perspectives were suited to a life in the media, a judgment I confirmed by taking him for a beer.
My professional grades were adequate before I jobbed out to a radio station, shortly after
which I went to cable TV as a community programmer. A year later, a former classmate hired
me at a local television station, and a year after that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
advertised for editors experienced in the new electronic systems. Two weeks passed before I was
turned down for that job, but a department head asked me if I'd be interested in becoming a
soundman; it was my experience with new technology they were after. Three years later, Doug
quit to freelance in London. I was subsequently resting there between back-to-back assignments
in India and Pakistan when he and a barrel of Guinness got me thinking about freelancing. For
want of something to do, the next day I hopped a train to the East Croydon Immigration O ffice,
explained my circumstances, then I left the decision in the hands of a petite immigration official.
To my surprise, she issued me a work visa on the spot.
-Why did you even consider working in England? | Bonnie said.
-I loved London. Different stories. |
-Carry on. |
-I finished the job in India, came home, quit, sold my sailboat, motorcycle, and sports car to
friends, and three weeks later I moved to London. |
-Fast and smooth, | Bonnie noted.
-I sold cheap. Anyway, I was about to lie down in a Knightsbridge hotel when the I.R.A.
car bombed Harrods, half a block down the road. I was looking out my window at the billowing
smoke when CBS phoned. Twenty minutes later, I was working my first freelance job with Sean
Bobbitt. At seven the next morning we were on our way to Beirut. After that job, I worked as
nonstop as I wanted to work, including all kinds of cushy jobs, like touring Scotland's scotch
industry, snooker and darts tournaments, rugby—all kinds of fluff stories. |
-Hard life, | she said dryly.
-It got better. I took time off in the south of France, and sailing the Greek Islands. The only
crappy thing that happened was that my allergies kicked in big time. |
I next explained that my visa would expire while I was out of England so I got an extension
at the airport before leaving for Africa. When I came back, Immigration asked me about the
recent date on the stamp, and I told them what I had done. They next asked me how I had
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