Friday, April 14, 2006

Hamilton Hall

I survived the Hamilton Hall experience.

The Hamilton Hall is a pub at one of the main overground stations in London – Liverpool Street. The commuter trains run out to the Essex coast carrying the wide boys and girls* in and out every day. I grew up on the edge of London and Essex – Romford – through which the overcrowded and slow Great Eastern line runs.

I was to meet friends there before going for a curry Wednesday night. The place makes me nervous. Very nervous.

The problem is I always run into someone I went to school with or knew in my younger days. The conversation goes something like this:

Them: Emma! Are you married?
Me: No.
Them: Oh. You've got kids, though?
Me: No.
Them: Never mind. You're not too old yet! A house?
Me: No. I'm happy as I am. Live with my partner and am doing well professionally – one
step off senior management in a school.
Them: You always did like school, didn't you?.(Sneer). Where do you live?
Me: Barking.
Them: Oh, that's awful. My husband's a trader in the city. We've got a four bedroomed house
in Hornchurch, his and hers convertibles, three children, a swimming pool and a villa in

Okay, okay. I may have slightly exaggerated that last bit but you get the drift. They think you have to acquire certain material things (husbands and children are seen as commodities) to be happy; I don't and am always annoyed that I leave with their pity.

This time I didn't bump into anyone. I felt like I had triumphed over the place. The weight of the world left my shoulders as we sauntered off to the curry capital Brick Lane.

*does this translate into US English – dodgy chancers?


pat said...

it's not like you have to be rich to be materialistic.

lordy the number of people i work with who go on about how litle cash they have but then mention they saved £60 when they bought a pair of jeans that had been reduced in the sales to £60...
me i think you have spent £60 on something i'll get from tescos for £5 (the fat bastard jeans are more expensive....)

Ashley said...

I know what 'dodgy' means - but when you pair it with, 'chancer' I can only hazard a guess...

coolbuddha said...

But are they happy? (OK, I think I know the answer to that one, but no harm asking).

Anonymous said...

Well, I've found that the folks that have to brag about all their *stuff* generally aren't the most spiritually or emotionally enlightened people on Earth.

My father is one of the most shallow people I've ever met. He would brag to his ultra-yuppie friends about how he smuggled art in his spare time. He thought that made him a "big man" when it really just meant he was a thief on a 6-figure income.