Diary

Unfinished Stories

20 August 2007 | Diary

Sauntering along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, seeing what might be what and who might be whom, I chanced across a strange scene.

The Royal Mile during the Festival is, of course, a metric kilometer of patently strange events but this one seemed a tad too domestic for performance purposes. Consequently, it became “strange” in this context by its very kitchen-sinkness. Several people had gathered to watch.

It seemed to me that a dispute had resulted in a young girl breaking the finger of an older man with a beard. She stood at the steps of her flat. He stood just outside of the door. The police had been called in. The bearded man was showing his finger to one of the officers who was trying to ascertain whether or not it was actually broken.

The young girl was very pretty. She had nice hair and a red dress. The older man was drunk and had food in his beard. What had happened?

Above the muttering ruminations of the crowd, my attention was snagged by the discourse of street sweepers.

One street sweeper, leaning casually on her broom, said to her colleague: “You see, I used to want to be in the police. But I couldn’t deal with that.”

That she had once abandoned the idea of being a police officer in favour of being a street sweeper was interesting. I wonder what made her change her mind?

Perhaps she took the phrase “clean up the streets” a trifle too literally and from there it was a downward spiral.

Not one for adding to the publicity of other people’s affairs, however, I continued on my way.



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