There is an Archimedes Screw in Durham at the river Wear. The screwing action raises substantial weights of water from a low level to a higher one. Effortless simplicity, providing water powered energy to the Freeman’s Quay area of Durham . Doubling up as a fish ramp, so fish can more easily get up river to reproduce. A jolly good all round invention.
I feel anxious. Wretchedly so. Blustery Spring morning in need of coffee. Waiting for my date. My coffee date. Even Archimedean principles are useless now. There are plenty of other unseen universal laws and variables amok.
The law of the creepy guy in a public place.
An unkempt unshaven man carrying a suspicious carrier bag lurks nearby. He stares at me over the various steps and concrete installations. One of those men in a public space where you immediately feel uncomfortable.
I feel anxious. Observed. Uncomfortable. All kinds of thoughts race through my brain.
‘He has sent a creepy friend to check me out first.’
‘He has caught a glimpse of me first without me knowing and has skiddaled. ‘
‘My profile pictures are up to date. Do I really look so different in real life?’
The law of why are the cops here again? I haven’t done anything this time.
An innocent looking cop passes by. He may have some cop business at the nearby Passport Office. You would think I would be reassured, but no. In an unfamiliar city, for me this would only cause more intricate and elaborate conspiracy theories.
I stare at the Archimedean Screw.
The law of if in doubt Pray.
‘Please God, no trouble with the cops again.’
The motion of the screw in other circumstances might be calming. I am transfixed. The anxiety in my tummy accelerates its oscillating velocity.
The law of ‘all men are bastards’, has changed to ‘all men are weird.’ Particularly men on on line dating sites.
I do not hate men.
I do not think all men are bastards.
See above law of ‘All men on dating sites are weird.’
Men are weird. My caffeine fix is overdue and I am destined to be single for the rest of my life.
And I want to be as far away from carrier bag man as I can possibly be or at least in a coffee shop surrounded by potential witnesses for the court case.
I message the date as I drink my coffee Alone. (Dramatic sob!) I feel stressed anxious annoyed and with little diplomacy tell him as much. He doesn’t reply in the next second or minute even. So I express my emotions to friends in whatsapp and weep and wail with zero dignity on Facebook.
I message other guys on the dating site. Tell them:
“I’ve been stood up. Men are weird.”
I glean varied responses, most of which are kind and understanding. What men can be kind and understanding? I may have to adjust the ‘all men are weird’ law, but not today.
I drink my coffee which by now is cold!
Carrier bag man is not following me. Phew! No crime scene to report.
An hour or so passes. My date replies to my messages. He was there. Couldn’t get parked. He was at the entrance to the foot bridge on the other side of the Passport Office.
We had discussed at least three venues all in a very close vicinity to the other. I/We got muddled with the meeting point.
Archimedes really didn’t get screwed.