The world is saying something to me, trying to make me pay attention, but I’m not sure what the message is.

After meeting my friends brother randomly last Friday night (read previous entry for humiliating tale…), I’ve since had two more strange encounters of the Perth-kind.

On Sunday, as I was walking down to the Festival da Cuba at Bankside, I ran into the delectable Alli, a Perth girl I worked with for more than a year before leaving the golden shores for bustling London Town. I didn’t know exactly when she was arriving, and she’d only been in England for 5 hours, before I found myself face to face with her on a sidewalk outside Liverpool station. Eerie. But lovely!

And last night, another Perth lady, Jess WG, was walking out of Wagamama with her friends as I was walking in with mine! Crazy coincidences. Or maybe the world is even smaller than I could possibly have imagined!

It’s got me thinking about why and how things happen. I know I’m not the first to have these sort of encounters far from home, you can probably fill any number of books with unexpected encounters like these – but to have three in one week! That’s got to be saying something…

It does make this feel a bit more like home though, the possibbility of running into friends has to be a sign of being established, settling down. My English friends are starting to say I have a more legitmate routine than them – a bunch of pub friends, some people who I can go to galleries with, work friends, and now Perth friends. And the world keps turning.

Speaking of turning, here are my five steps to scaring yourself senseless so you can’t sleep (as experienced last night):

STEP 1 – go see The Innocents on the big screen. This step is highly important is it’s the initial point at which you’ll begin to feel fear. The Innocents is the old black and white movie adpated from the Turning of the Screw, and on the big screen it’s particularly shiver-making. Lots of ghostly faces through windows, screeching music and sudden death. When you think about it, as a women living alone, that’s one of the big fears – seeing an unexpected face at the window. Even today, that one movie trick is able to make an entire audience scream or jerk with fright.

STEP 2 – make sure you see the movie late at night, and it ends when everything is closed, so there’s no opportunity to calm yourself with a coffee with your girlfriend (who is also scared out of her wits at this stage), and the only thing you can do is go home to an empty and dark flat.

STEP 3 – miss the last bus. So now you have to walk twenty minutes to where the next closest night bus route is. This journey will take you alongside the dark path beside river, and everywhere you look – in gardens, under benches, doorways – you will unexpectedly see a dirty white face peering out of the gloom at you. Homeless people are sadly familiar during the day, but take an unexpectedly threatening turn at night, when they keep appearing where you least expect them.

STEP 4 – By this stage your heart is beating pretty fast, and you’re walking as quickly as you can without actually pelting through the streets of London. As you turn the last street corner to your bus stop, you see that bus arrive 5 minutes early, and leave the stop before you can make it. The next bus arrives in thirty minutes. You decide to wait, but a large group of drunk guys (possibly post-world cup pub drinking) arrives and makes you feel uncomfortable, so you decide to walk the rest of the way home, which is less than thirty minutes away anyhow.

STEP 5 – you find yourself walking through the centre of London CBD, and it’s like the first scene in Vanilla Sky, but really dark. There are surprisingly few street lights, no buses, no cars, no other people… just you on an empty street surrounded by menacing looking buildings towering over you. And the echoes of your shoes making you think there’s someone behind you, but every time you turn, no one is there…

It took me hours to get to sleep last night. Every sound, every night-creak made me jerk wide awake. I actually tip-toed through my flat when I needed to go to the bathroom at 3am (not sure how I thought it would help, but I did it anyway), and when I came back to my bedroom, I jumped from the doorway to the bed, in case there was anything underneath it…

Even just thinking about last night still makes me shiver.

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