Friday, May 13, 2005

Su Doku - bringing people together

Some mornings, London is a bloody horrible place to live. The sky is grey, the air is polluted, the train is filthy and the streets are overcrowded. And that's just the journey into the work.

But, once in a while, a lovely 'London Moment' comes along and brightens your day. Well, they used to be 'London Moments'. They are swiftly becoming 'Blog Moments'.

So I'm on the tube this morning - Jubilee line from West Hampstead to Waterloo - and I'm doing the Su Doku (what else?). It's Friday, so it's Fiendish. I've filled in a couple of the obvious squares and I'm doing the mental calculations to complete the rest of the grid. Then, I sense someone looking over my shoulder. I turn to the chap sitting next to me who smiles and points to one of the squares. "I think that's a 6" he says. I ask him how he worked it out and he explains, a bit too quickly for me to quite get it (I told you, I'm rubbish at the Fiendish ones) and smiles again.

He has a cracking smile. He also has bright ginger hair. Properly ginger. Not strawberry blonde or summer auburn. But in-yer-face, the-sun'll-come-out-tomorrow-Annie ginger. Now, I've nothing against ginger hair. Some of my nearest and dearest relatives are ginger. Family legend has it that I was ginger myself when I was born. So I felt like we already knew each other. This was helped by the fact that, ginger hair notwithstanding, he was clearly a Jewish boy. Don't ask me how I know. Sometimes, you just know. I resisted the urge to raise the cossack-rape theory of genetics. Neither the time nor the place.

So, the Jewish-ginger chap and I get talking. About Su Doku. Well, you have to start somewhere. I tell him that I find the fiendish puzzle on Friday a little tricky. He tells me he doesn't do The Times Su Doku. He does it in "the other paper". I ask him which paper he means and he replies "The Telegraph". You have to admit, that's a nice touch. To a Telegraph reader, chatting up someone holding The Times, there really is only one other paper. It's like telling someone you went to "The Other University".

So we chat about Su Doku and newspapers and eventually the tube pulls into Waterloo. And I leave the train and walk the rest of the way to work with a spring in my step. I didn't ask his name (he didn't tell me his). I didn't give him my phone number (he didn't ask for it). So I mentally put it down as entry #85 in the List of Missed Opportunities. But I did think how nice it is to chat to strangers on the tube. When was the last time you did that? Sober?

As a footnote, it transpires (after telling this story to C) that The Times and The Telegraph are not the only papers to publish Su Doku. Apparantly, where I lead millions follow and it's now published in the Guardian and the Independent. You can buy books of Su Doku puzzles too. And even have a daily Su Doku sent to your mobile phone. But it's not quite the same as solving it on the tube with a handsome stranger on a grey morning in London, is it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Su Doku was a form of martial arts, i've so much to learn, such little time.

Its refreshing to read a story relating in some ways to the London transport system with happy overtones, i'm taking the train on Monday.

R its never a missed opportunity, but a window of opportunity, for the next time u see him!!!!

2:13 pm  
Blogger timecharger said...

don't encourage her, P

6:01 pm  
Blogger timecharger said...

don't encourage her, P

6:01 pm  
Anonymous Michelle Pelta said...

R - great piece - did you know a whole new range of Su Doku with letters and numbers is now in circulation - just think of the quality of men you could potentially not pull with one of those! Best, M

6:16 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

hello M
welcome aboard - glad you found the blog - enjoy...

1:18 pm  

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