weird-internet-cafeI kinda assumed that if an internet café’s situated in the heart of London, then it’s bound to be better than your average café, right? You know, spacious, airy, nice’ish toilets, devoid of viruses with severe chips on their shoulders, etc. (‘chips’, geddit?!)

Anyway, I’m one of those people who tend to be quite calm in certain situations that your Average Joe/Joan might freak out about. I guess it’s a coping mechanism of some sort. With this particular internet cafe, it didn’t quite sink in just how weird the whole experience was ‘til I’d stepped out of it.

I’ll start from the beginning, shall I, Columbo?

So, I’m in London for a few days. I’m on one of those red bendy buses on my way to Piccadilly Circus – great way to see a big part of London, by the way, as it drives you all through the city – great architecture as well if you’re into that type of thing.

I noticed a late-night internet café which wasn’t too far from where I was headed. I thought ‘great’. It was about 9pm and it meant I could go down Piccadilly, have a walk and a look around, grab a bite to eat down Chinatown and still have time to hop on the internet on my way back.

Great!

Around 12midnight, I walk into the café. I ask for a computer for an hour. I sit down. About 10 minutes later, someone takes the cubicle next to me. Then, I hear the faint sound of moaning. I look over and the guy next to me is watching porn. Not only that, he has his frikkin hand down his frikkin pocket.

I move. Pronto.

He goes to the toilet.

I decide to sit closer to the front door this time. No sooner am I settled in when I hear a guy talking. First his voice was kinda low and then it steadily got louder. At first, I thought he was talking to someone on his mobile phone or on Skype or something.

I looked over.

And he wasn’t on Skype.

He wasn’t on a mobile either.

The man seemed to be talking to himself.

He then got up and walked to the phone booth in the café. I thought ‘ok, he’s actually gonna use the phone this time. Maybe he’s about to propose to his girlfriend over the phone and was just rehearsing what he was gonna say. Awww – how schweet.’

But when he got to the booth, he stretched out his arms and spun around slowly 3 times with a blank look on his face.

Then he walked back to his seat and sat down.

He did this every couple of minutes or so. Got up, walked to the booth, spun 3 times, walked back, sat down.

What was even more peculiar was that everyone around him was acting like nothing was happening (maybe they were cooped up in pornoland too – who knows?)

And he was acting as if none of us were there either.

That was it. I ejected my memory stick, went over to the till and paid for half-an-hour – no way was I gonna stay there for an hour.

The guy at the till then proceeded to try and chat me up while he was giving me change.

No joke.

The café was on a busy high street – cars and people going past all the time – but inside was a whole other different world – it was like walking into the Twilight Zone (with Alfred Hitchcock standing at the entrance saying ‘Good Eeeeevening’).

I remember leaving there thinking there must be some kind of mental asylum or prison nearby where they let the folks out on Saturdays for good behaviour.

I wasn’t gonna stick around to find out.

(p.s.: I was dying to use the loo but NO WAY was I gonna go in after that guy went in. I didn’t fancy slipping up on his ‘happy juice’, thank you very much. Uh uh.)

(p.p.s: the other guy was still spinning round when I left)

(p.p.p.s: someone partially threw up on my bag on my way back on the bus. How’s that for a frikkin night out on the town? Bloody university students.)

(p.p.p.p.s: I had 98 viruses on my memory stick after I used that bloody café. Grrrr).

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