The first Sunday in October. A grey old day. It’ll rain later. I’ve walked the dog, now I’m going into town to work on a script. A number thirteen bus arrives, which I’d usually take to Finchley Road from where I’d take the Met to Baker Street, changing there onto the Bakerloo for Piccadilly Circus and a short walk up Shaftesbury Avenue, avoiding rough sleepers and tourists, to Dean Street, where the office is, in between Coco Bubble Tea and the Golden Lion . But today, just behind the thirteen is a one-one-three which would take me to Oxford Circus, whence I could walk through Soho to the office. Being Sunday I figure the traffic won’t be so bad, so I choose the 113.
I go to the top deck, back seat. It’s a longish trip. Maybe 30 minutes. I have a bag of books of plays. These are supposed to be kept at the office. One is Beckett’s Collected Short Plays. I read ‘Rough for Theatre 1’. Very Godot-esque, written around the same time (early 50s). There are two characters. A blind man with a violin and a one-legged man in a wheelchair who uses a pole to punt himself around. It is funny and mysterious and melancholy, with that little sliver of nastiness that Beckett always manages to slip in, almost, one feels, despite himself, but knowing he must.
We approach Baker Street. I decide to get off and take the Bakerloo. But the bus stop is closed and we cross the Marylebone Road and the next sop is York Street. Still, I’ll stick to the plan, and I get off the bus. The first thing I see is a man wearing very dark glasses staring straight ahead, smoking. I assume he is blind. He is also in a wheelchair and has one leg. Thankfully, no pole and no violin.