Neil Hopcroft

A digital misfit

“I’d love to stay but I got no time”

Keith, you plonker, what were you thinking? It’s so easy to question. It’s so easy to say that you should have stuck around. Let me say this:

Thank you for hanging in there for as long as you did.

I was never a part of your jilted generation but your energy leaked out into my world. And I am glad of that.

The thing is that you don’t know is how you are going to act until you get into that place. All the ‘you should talk to someone’s in the world are not going to be heard when you are there.

I remember a day in London. I had just started working there, commuting from Cambridge until I found a house more locally. I got on a crowded tube train holding a large book I was reading, there was a big crowd on the platform and as I moved onto the train the corner of my book brushed against a girl standing on the train. She wasn’t paying attention to the crowd boarding the train. She started shouting at me to stop assaulting her.

That evening, on my return journey, I made a conscious decision to walk close to the wall as I went down the platform because I knew that if a train arrived and I was walking next to the track the temptation would be great. No one would have known the reason. No one could have known.

Since then, I’ve been there again and again. Talk to someone? No. I only function this well because I’ve got a plan to get out when I need to. The option is there and, all the time it is, I can probably live another day.

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