Sunday, September 25, 2005

Swimming with sharks

"Do you want to swim with sharks?" says Guy, a Welshman who I went to University with. I hung out with him a bit back then, but don't know him too well. We're out in a big birthday drinking group in a noisy bar in North Clapham. I haven't seen Guy in about three years and this is his opening conversational gambit. He just walks up to me and asks the question, as if he was an extreme sports travel agent and could offer me the holiday of a lifetime.

"Er. Yes?" I say, encouragingly, trying to give the right answer.

"Why would you want to do that?" he says, looking at me like I'm insane.

"Er. I like to live life on the edge? Take risks and that?" I say.

"In what way do you live life on the edge?" he asks me accusingly.

"Er, sometimes I cross the road before the green man appears." Guy looks at me blankly. I give in. "No, I probably don't really live life on the edge. And I can't really think of any recent examples of risk-taking."

"Mmmm. So you'd want to be in a cage full of sharks - they're fucking dangerous, man." (He's completely serious.) "I'd never do that. I wouldn't swim with crocodiles either, they're fucking vicious bastards too."

"Yeah, you're probably right. Swimming with sharks is probably not that great."

"I don't understand people like you, going out to Australia and swimming with sharks and crocodiles. And snakes man, you lot love fucking snakes."

"Yeah. Sorry."

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