Some people just catch your eye – don’t you think?
Mr Pooter is my name for an unremarkable man who we see around our town. Mostly in our local, the Wheatsheaf (did I mention that this would crop up from time to time?) He’s made extraordinary by his purposeful walk and his aura of absolute concentration. Like some sort of robotic homing device he strides towards the doorway of his destination, head down and fists clenched by his side. No-one gets in his way or diverts him from his seemingly pre-programmed course. I did once try to engage with him. I met him in the doorway of the pub as I was leaving, “Wow, could it rain any harder?” No response – in fact I don’t think he even saw me or heard my words as he virtually pushed through me into the pub. It was very wet. Maybe he’s deaf?
He is what I think you would call stocky, not fat but certainly solid as I found out when I tried to pass him in the doorway of the Wheatsheaf. He dresses quite well, always exactly the same, winter or summer, sunshine or rain. Grey trousers, black shoes, white shirt and a heavy black velvet jacket the sleeves of which are too long so he seems to hold the cuffs in his clenched fists.
So, straight through the crowd to the bar – the staff know the beer he drinks and his pint is pulled and on the bar in a flash. He has the correct change and the transaction is over in seconds. Drink in hand, he repairs to the end of the bar where the daily papers are piled. He stands, and reads or has a stab at a few crossword clues – probably The Mail’s quick crossword: he doesn’t look like a Times man. Glass drained he strides out of the door, head down as usual, and homes in on his next destination. This, I assume is the next pub on his trail where he probably follows the same routine. So far I’ve resisted the temptation to actually follow him. However, another of the regulars says that he’s been seen in the Plough and once even in what I call the kid’s pub, one of those Lloyds places in the town square. I have to say that both of those are seriously down market from ‘our’ pub. No-one I know has ever spoken to him, not even the bar staff at the Wheatsheaf who are a very varied bunch of interesting individuals and very chatty indeed. He has the air of a man whose mission is to drink his pint as quickly as possible and leave. And – this is very odd and I’m not sure whether to believe it – one of my fellow people watchers insists that he once appeared in the pub wearing lipstick and mascara! He doesn’t look like that sort of person to me but then I didn’t see him that day.
He is intriguing though. Is there a Mrs Pooter sitting at home who, having given him his ‘tea’, chased him out from under her feet ? I know I would. Who knows? But it’s fun to speculate…