Thursday, September 12, 2013

Postcard from Alcatraz

It's 9pm on Alcatraz. My head hasn't adjusted to the time zone yet so in my mind it's 5am and I should be getting to work. But I always slack off on Fridays to have a natter with you. And, besides, they've just clanged shut door after door.

"Are there any of you left in here?" said a guard - sorry, presumably a tour guide but he deliberately sounds like a guard just now. Especially as we're outside in the cold and have that silly but palpable worry that the boat has gone.

I have to touch things before they're real. Are you like that? I had to hold a cell door before I knew what it was like, before I knew I was here. A few years ago I had to break the rules, lean over the ropes and touch the hull of the Titanic. Had to.

It's surely why I like meeting you and shaking your hand. It's certainly why I like typing: it's me touching the words I write.

Earlier today I was on a helicopter tour - a sad aside: I've now spent longer in helicopters as a tourist than as an impoverished would-be pilot - and we flew under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a marvellous moment but I swear it wouldn't have been so rich if I hadn't walked the bridge yesterday. Touched it yesterday.

Which may be why I have problems with holidays. Can't touch them. I want to quote MC Hammer and say can't touch this but I can't remember who that is and can't look up Wikipedia because there is no wifi on Alcatraz. Hard labour, harsh cells, screaming winds and no wifi. The poor bastards.

Whoever MC Hammer is, I bet he or she is better with holidays than I am.

I have managed to get two jobs to do while I'm away, so that helps.

And I have turned to theft: I've stolen this whole 'Postcard from...' blog format from a pal, Katharine D'Souza, who regularly writes such things here.

Back to Alcatraz where I've just met a fella who can't understand why anyone would come to the West Coast and another Cliff Clavin type who wanted to tell me more about Birmingham than I already knew.

Neither of them had any work for me. But both of them got us onto the last boat. Somebody really should organise overnight stays at Alcatraz but I've done my time.

No comments: