Friday, 14 March 2008

Bench Tapping Man

This is a true story that actually happened to me. I currently work in the middle of nowhere, but used to work in a town centre and get an hours lunch. This may sound great, but trust me - after a while you get bored of standing in WH Smiths wondering why you're looking at "What Car" magazine for the fifth time that week. Eventually I got bored of trawling round the shops every day with no cash to spend and would sit on the bench in the shopping centre reading a book.

There were four benches upstairs in this shopping centre and two downstairs - all had backs on in those days, but these have been removed since to force people into the shops to spend money.

One day I was sitting on a particular seat when this bloke sat down to my right, extending his arm across the back so it was almost touching me - pretty unnerving as it was. He started tapping the bench. Repeatedly. For a whole hour. It was really, really irritating and eventually i got up and left because i couldn't read my book.

A few days later he was back again - same bench, same position - same tapping. I christened him Bench Tapping Man.

Over the next couple of weeks i noticed that he was always hanging about the centre near to that one bench. If there was no space available he would sit on the next bench up, anxiously watching his preferred bench until it was free and he could return to tap away. It got to the point where i didn't want to go in to the centre incase i ended up sat next to him. Instead I started sitting across the hallway on the other set of benches where he never went.

It was then that i noticed Umbrella Tapping Man.

True - this chap would walk in every lunch time and sit diagonally opposite Bench Tapping Man - tapping the floor with his umbrella and whistling "What a friend we have in Jesus"

I became convinced that there was some secret espionage going on between the two. Possibly they were selling state secrets in morse code??

I will never know - as, sadly, about a week or two after Umbrella Tapping Man appeared on the scene Bench Tapping Man vanished and was never seen again. Possibly U.T.M. had won their secret war - but we will never know.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

2 comments:

A. Stageman said...

I agree, truth is definitely stranger then fiction. You should have started tapping your feet. The three of you could have started some strange kind of tapping band...

The Clandestine Samurai said...

State secrets is one idea. Perhaps U.T.M. was telling B.T.M. about a mission (should he choose to accept it.......). Or perhaps it was some new form of skirmish in a gang war?

I do that same thing, constantly looking at other particular situations and people and trying to fit stories behind them. Especially when at a job I hate.