I press my nose on the bus window as I am struggling to see the entrance of the tube; I am trying to spot someone in a red uniform, or to see a red flag with Time Out on it; nothing.
I stick it out and don’t get off in this tube station, and as we are approaching London Bridge, I see the stand at the corner. I press the stop button in a woodpecker mode, and I burst out of the doors and into the street. The stand is empty.
‘Sorry mate‘, the man tells me, and points to the 5 massive empty sacks; ‘all gone‘. My lips part, but no sound comes out.
You see, four days before, I received an email from Time Out, saying that they would like to print my 5 favourite spots in the magazine; and you might think that this was the moment that I played it cool, and distanced, and totally blasé. Well, no, of course I didn’t!
I had been reading Time Out since I first came to London. I would always bite the lid off my red pen, and circle all the exhibitions I wanted to go to, all the events I wanted to attend, all the movies I wanted to see. Yes, in the end I would not do half of my over-ambitious itinerary, but the pages held something much more than just listings: they showed London in all its diverse, rich, real, and magic aspects.
So, when they asked, I could not say yes fast enough; and here I was, looking at the vendor’s worried eyes as I stared at him with disbelief. ‘But…-‘ I said, and well, there was not anywhere else this discussion could go.
I hurriedly thanked him for his time, and turned around. I thought to myself that I did not have to have a copy of it; it was there. It was in print. In Time Out. A smile started creeping in the corners of my lips, and I started walking towards Borough.
‘Umm, sorry, I just overheard you -there are a lot of copies still in Monument station, I just passed from there’, a lady told me in a hurry that just about allowed me to squeeze a ‘thank you’ before she was gone.
A power-walk later, and I reached Monument. The Time Out people were packing up, and a small flood of disappointment came back. I approached, asked them with a glimmer of hope, and as I was expecting them to repeat the ‘sorry mate’ routine, they reached for the last bag and take out a couple of copies.
After thanking them (repeatedly), I made my way back to Borough. I got a warm cinnamon roll and a hot cup of coffee, and I sat down in front of a bright pink table. With a huge grin, I started reading it; I did not jump to my piece. I would give this issue the same attention as every Time Out issue I had read.
Sure enough, I reached the page. I run my fingers over the column, and smiled like seeing an old friend. Seeing the blog in print meant so much to me in that moment, that I have to admit that for a second I welled up; but as I said, just for a second, that passed the moment a quick burst of giggles set in.
I sat there, and read and re-read it. It felt great.
Now, where is my red pen?