My morning routine is pretty fixed. I get up early and go for a swim, in a thick sleep induced fog, and the lack of cognition I bring to it can’t be overstated. I function by routine; the same breakfast, the same bus, the same locker.
Last Friday, I found that someone was in my usual locker. Not to worry. Instead, I put my gear in the locker below and got on with my swim. With me so far?
Swim done, out I get. It’s about 7.35 am and I’m fully in my routine. I get to the lockers, nod to the guy next to me and open my usual locker. Once I can see inside, I realise/remember that it isn’t my locker this morning and shut it immediately.
However. I saw what was inside. And what I saw….
“Spiderman underwear!” I say to the person next to me.
“Spiderman underwear, that person had Spiderman underwear!”
We look at each other in amazement. “I hope whoever it is, is ten years old,” says my locker buddy.
“Really? No, I hope they’re forty-two years old, I think that’s brilliant!”
“You don’t think they’re for children?”
“Well, we’ve all got our own sides to us, don’t we? For example, the author of Wind in the Willows was the Governor of the Bank of England!”
“That really true?”
“Yes, it is! Who ever it is, fair play to them.”
This last part is said to each other over our shoulders, as we gather our items. Mine take several trips, I don’t want to drop anything on the wet floor.
As I go back to the lockers, there, standing at the open locker, is a man. He was seconds away from us as we talked, and looks like he came from the showers, he’s heard everything. I come to an abrupt halt, with an audible ‘oh…’ in horror.
I come up to my own locker, wondering what to say. He doesn’t turn his head, but merely gathers up his items with great dignity. As he leaves, he says one thing.
“I don’t think about Spiderman in meetings, you know.”
Make amends! Make amends, calls out my brain! So I call out to his retreating back, “But I think Spiderman is cool!”
But there is no answer, as he walks down the hall.
Well, bother. And now, his face is fixed in my memory. If I ever meet him on campus, I will remember, instantly, that this is the man with the Spiderman underwear.
And worse luck, so will he.