I was always going to write this blog, I just never knew when and where, or how and which frame of mindset I would be in, to formulate a series of words to accumulate some kind of multitude in expression to the story I am about to force upon the hundreds of people who have frequented these pages since their initial inception a month or so ago. Apparently I have had visiting readers from Albania, Singapore, Russia, Croatia, and even over a hundred from the good old U.S of A - though I am certain they may have stumbled upon this place by chance. I cannot imagine John Belushi's great uncle sitting on his laptop in his Tiranian home, whilst a Norman Wisdom marathon is played on television for the three hundredth day in a row, frantically bothering his wife about the antics of Mister Blobby - the food ponce of Harrow, while he ponders over which local weirdo I am about to embark upon dissecting next time. But you never know. I read all sorts of shit from around the global world, as I guess we all do to a degree... and it is usually about some odd ball story of some kind.
Anyway, my second installment of singular human weirdness, surrounds a fella who I have seen regularly around the lower section of the Hill in Harrow, the bus and train station, and the food court of the shopping center - all of which lie around fifty meters in radius from each other. The man I refer to I have simply Christened... Bag Man!
There is very little I can attest in terms of information about Bag Man. He is of an average to slight build, medium height, aged somewhere around his mid-40's, probably British, and with a full head of unclean yet his own hair. He wears (as is pictured) a blue anorak coat, black trousers, and a pair of old brown shoes all the time, each item smells pretty pungent and seem as if they have not had a decent wash for a number of years, if ever. He wears a wedding ring on his left hand, is often found standing up outside Harrow On The Hill station reading either The Metro or the Daily Mail, and carries around with him a collection of filthy shopping bags, which contain (from my own short inspections) a collection of other scrunched up dirty old bags, loaves of bread and milk, and more newspapers. During the summer months, my girlfriend and I would often see him hanging around a collection of trees around the Hill area, where he would either sit and stand for hours and hours, as if he were waiting for somebody to pick him up, but never found their way to arrive for him. He always seems to me as if he is waiting for someone to return - perhaps this explains the wedding ring.
In the evenings, he often sits in the bus station and sleeps in his coat beside his bags (pictured), where no one ever seems to bother him, until he awakes, leaves, and goes to somewhere where I have no idea where it could possibly be.
He is always silent, he is always alone, and no one ever seems to talk to him.
We once saw him use a bankcard in a cash machine, which would have me to assume that he is not homeless, and he always motions a look on his face of a man who is retaining a brain which may well be quite intelligent. It is interesting how we can tell simply by looking at someone as to whether they are smart or not, and hardly ever proven wrong. I find I can figure out someone's intellect within two minutes of talking to them, or even simply watching them from afar as they interact, but I inherited the mental genetics to become good at this shit, so who knows who sees whatever they see.
Bag Man to me is not alike all the other weirdos of this area, in that the rest I tend to view as being merely stupid or lazy, or even as those whose path was always assigned to either hanging around food courts nicking junk food, or dancing in a dirty yellow dress outside Starburger (More on this another time), but there is something in the eyes and the body language of Bag Man that seem somewhat tragic and tortured. He looks trapped in a place of his mind which never fully found it's way in and out of his social cognition and emotional construct. Like we all do, when the more quiet and passive around us give away very little information towards the associations and ways of their personal lives, we tend to build our own maps as to how and what they do around their own business. Primarily this is a way to answer the questions we cannot, which may bring ground to the notions of religion and the like, but this is another subject for another day. I build a story in which his long term wife left him at the station, as she told him she no longer loved him anymore, Bag Man had just been shopping, and wearing the anorak, black trousers, and brown shoes he currently resides in. After she boarded the train, his mind became lost in a mental vortex he may never escape from. Each and every day an endless moment of waiting for her to come back and fly into his arms, proclaiming how wrong she was to walk away. Does he imagine a life like this? Does he know where he is? Does he even care anymore? Does Bag Man goes to Church or Mass on a Sunday? And not just for the free sandwiches.
I find weirdos interesting because there is something tragic yet heroic about them. Whether it flows within the conscious framework of a human mind or not, a large portion of their souls reject basic society to live in a way which no one deems as acceptable to the masses. I have never wanted to be ultimately conventional to the point where I lack an original and independent mind, and God these are so rare it's ridiculous. But, at the same time, I don't think I would want to live a deluded notion such as these people, where this way of living seems normal. But then again, what is normal? In societal terms, the mass percentage is deemed correct, but it's not like we agree with the Nazi's or the elements of the reign of Henry the Eighth in the modern world, and in their times they determined truth by numbers.
So I guess what I am saying is that even though they live in an odd way, they are not harmless people. In fact, in the only conversational thread I have ever had with the man of bags - during a period in which I was leaving a bathroom which he was entering. I held the door open for him. He said two words... 'Thank You!'.
I guess he aint so bad after all. Because in my experience, out of every ten people I do that for, three or so never say anything. And they don't carry around dirty bags or wear a filthy anorak.
So if you are ever in Harrow, and you ever happen to spot Bag Man hanging around (he is easy enough to spot), spare a little sympathy for him. He may well wear crappy clothes, carry old bags and loaves of bread and a bank card, while sipping on a coffee in his wedded ring left hand, but deep down there is a fractured soul in there, who, like all of us, can feel intense love just as much as they an feel immense pain... and he is human, after all. Even if he does stink of piss.
P.S. On a side note, to Mister Pannell; if you are reading this. I wish you all the best in your Barcelona marathon quest coming up. To run as much as you are is a feat that only a few of us brave and slightly sadistic souls can undertake, so good luck my man! I really should make the four of five mile trip to Finsbury Park and see you sometime!