Wednesday, January 18, 2006

08 September
A Ghost at Dixons
A couple of weekends ago I saw a man standing outside Dixons. It wasn't a strange sight, I really don't want to put negative connotations on such actions. It shouldn’t really have drawn my attention, for although I cannot specifically remember an instance of seeing someone standing outside Dixons, I am almost certain I probably have. I just didn't feel it necessary to commit it to memory. In summary, I concede, people do on occasion stand outside Dixons.
But it was different with this haunted looking figure: A hot day, yet he wore a faded turquoise anorak, strands of his thin messy hair hooking it self around the arms of his thick dated glasses. Though you could say he was leaning against the window, he appeared too pushed into it to look like your normal leaner. His eyes were throwing themselves violently left to right and back again, tracking with suspicion the hundreds that walked past him. They never ventured further than a short perimeter from him, those more than a couple of metres away were invisible or ignored. In his right hand he clasped with unnecessary enthusiasm a Tesco's carrier bag.
I had two choices, either walk on to Debenhams or go up to him and ask him what he was doing. Even though he looked slightly agitated and uncomfortable, it appeared to me that he wasn't in what I would classify as a distressed state and therefore, I couldn't just go up with "Are you alright?" Without such a question in my armoury, I was ill-equipped to start an inquisition. Besides, I reasoned I should save up my Cold Conversation initiation strength for more important occasions, such as a chance encounter with Patsy Palmer.
As I labouredly sifted through piles of jeans in Menswear on a futile quest to find a pair that wasn't 'distressed', various scenarios of the man's motivation and circumstances played themselves out in my brain. Maybe he's never been outside before, locked in a box for forty years and let out for the first time to wander Bristol's shopping centre. Maybe he was part of the Dixons window, and by some nuclear experiment had been transformed into humanoid form and now was trying to push himself back into where he thought he belonged. But that bag what was in the bag?
I bought a shirt(boring shirt, the closer to 30, the less exciting shirts I purchase, bring on being 45 and having a mid-life loud shirt buying crisis) and walked slowly out of Debenhams. I walked out into the sun, I was tired by now, and slowly ambled back round. I stopped where I had stopped before and looked up again towards Dixons. He was nowhere to be seen, he'd vanished. OK so it was over half an hour since I'd first seen him, but I couldn't imagine him moving through physical space. Obviously I don’t know where he went, and I am certain
I will never know the truth about the real reasons for his time spent standing outside the Bristol branch of Britain’s favourite electrical retailer. I am almost certain though, that it was just the first chaptert of whatever plan he has for this world.

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