I have just flown back from London where riots over the G-20 summit are in full-swing.
All I was trying to do was to withdraw some Sterling from the Bank of England. Unfortunately, I had decided to wear black. Not a good choice. Even though I felt it made me look uber-urban instead of rustic rural from Maine.
I had to literally squeeze through a mob of angry demonstrators wielding fists of money withdrawn from the Bank of Scotland. The enemy, I secretly thought, as I shoved my way toward the ATM machine. I received a good many elbows, slogans, and unwarranted gropes. Most made me furious except from the masked marauder with piercing green eyes and a tight T-shirt that not only balanced big breasts but proclaimed: “Balance Your Cheque Book!”
If it wasn’t for the friendly officer from Scotland Yard who smashed the head of a maniacal protestor out of my path, I’d have never made it to the machine in one piece. Quickly punching in my own personal pass code in unison with the thrashing arms and shaking fists of the angry mob, I drew a deep breath and watched as a tenner shot out. Just enough, I mused, to get a copy of the Times to see what kind of global disaster was happening on April Fool’s Day and to get a souvenir, hopefully one depicting the elegiac class struggle and pastoral England I knew through Upstairs, Downstairs.
Ten pound note secure in pocket, I forced myself back into the surging mob trying to locate the amenable person I had seen earlier carrying a poster that read, “Consumers Suck.” I had fancied his black boots and was hoping the person could direct me to the store he had bought them. And since he was bearing such a large sign, I imagined that he could at least point me in the right direction if he was too caught up in a scuffle with police to actually give me verbal directions.
But wading back through the angry mob, I couldn’t help feeling that maybe my tenner might not be enough if I happened to see a commemorative mug painted with President Obama’s and Prime Minister Brown’s smiling faces.