Friday, 27 May 2011

GBE - 001 Expectations (take 2)

I caught up with an old schoolfriend today.

I'd cycled in to town to 'Sign on' ie prove that I was still alive and needed another handout from the Government, because at the age of 57 I'm too young to draw a pension, yet too old to realistically get another job.

And having completed the ritual paperwork and said nice things to the Jobseekers clerk, I wandered out into the afternoon sunshine.

A heavily bearded, scruffy looking person is sitting outside the the Jobcentre and calls out 'Ian'. I take a quick look at him, pretend I haven't heard him call my name, and head towards my bicycle.

He calls again, 'Ian'.

I turn and take a deeper look.

Could it surely not


He smiles and offers his hand. I take it gladly.

Tony and I grew up together. We went through infant school, junior school and grammar school together. We were both brilliant students, tusselling to win 1st place in any given assignment throughout our early school years. Later in grammar school I specialised in science, with Chemistry as my main subject. Tony was an excellent science student but was even better with English and languages. His mum was Jewish, his father a German dissident.....he had the world as his oyster.
He went off to Cambridge to do a double-first in English and German. I went off to the the University of East Anglia in Norwich where I failed after the first year.
Such is life.

I can't tell you how pleased I was to see my old friend.
We WILL keep in touch.
Even though we're both useless scumbags, in today's society, I'd like to think I can contribute bright thoughts to the world. And Tony's intellect is......well....out there.....even now, as he lives the life of a tramp


  1. Would love to hear more about Tony's story. He sounds like he would be one of those truly interesting people, the like of which are in sad decline in today's homogenised world. So glad you were able to reconnect :))

  2. I'm sooo glad I caught up with him. He is indeed one of life's treasures.

  3. How cool to happenstance upon an old friend! I'll bet Tony has some interesting stories to share about his life. :O)

  4. How lovely that fate allowed you to cross each others paths again!! Great blog!!


  5. I started working in IT in the late 1970's after graduating with a degree in Computer Science. By the mid 1980's mini-computers were selling faster than people could be trained, and if you really knew your stuff, which I did by that time, you could name your own price pretty much.

    I had clients I freelanced with, who were rock solid and provided more than enough work for me, but then by the late 1990's jobs became scarcer, technology began to move on, my clients changed systems or moved away, and my earnings dropped.

    I had moved to Indiana from the UK in 1994, and lost my job there in 2002. I moved to Florida where jobs were more plentiful, but then with a downturn lost my job again.

    I moved back to the UK 2 years ago, and struggled for almost 6 months to find a job. The Jobcentre wouldn't pay me anything either because I had been out of the country for so long.

    Now I have a reasonably secure IT job with a large but family run company, however I am earning about the same as I was 20 years ago, in other words I am struggling.

  6. I have a girlfriend who was one of my best friends in high school. She was five feet tall, part American Indian, part white, weights 50 lbs wet, who would come to school wearing black makeup and a cape. I wasn't a "goth" like she tended to be, but I was a "Korn kid" (I worshipped the band Korn), so we had similar tastes in accessories. Mine were of the leather studded collar/spiky jewelry persuasion. She has a kid now, and I've lost contact with her. I'd love to run into her the way you ran into your old friend, she meant a lot to me back then. :)


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  8. Tony has asked me to add the following comment, as he was unable to add it himself:

    I wish to point out that my father was not German but from Notting Hill, that I did not go to Cambridge or take a degree in languages and not only am I not a useless scumbag, don't live like (but possibly look like) a (rather suave and handsome) tramp and that the world was not, and never has been my oyster; it is, was, and has always been, my lobster.

    There's a lot of shit on the internet, innit?