Is the answer 42? No. In this case it is 41: 41 year since Grasshopper and I last saw each other, when we were cute little pads brats classmates at a British primary school near the East German border.
Praise be to Facebook! Nearly ten years ago, Grasshopper and I got in touch after I had shared a 1977 class photo on our dads’ old comrades Facebook page. Then there was the Big C Diagnosis on the last Wednesday of October 2017, since when Grasshopper and I have often chewed the cud, and bombarded each other with jokes and internet memes via Whatsapp.
Fast-forward to last Friday. Too idle to take the bus from my flat to DUS airport, I take a taxi. Having a bit of time to kill, I set up “office” at the ultra-modern McDonalds. The day gets off to a good start. Plenty of empty tables. I take my breakfast with one large coffee (much needed to kick-start my day). I sit down at a table on the edge of the restaurant. Munch, munch, slurp. Diary time. Samuel Pepys/Adrian Mole/Konrad Kujau mode. I check my smartphone. Grasshopper’s plane has not taken off yet, according to the messages from LCY (London City Airport). It’s delayed 45 minutes. Time for another coffee and a quick lookaround to see where the toilet is… ah, there it is. Just round the corner.
I’m looking forward to seeing Grasshopper in the flesh. We’ve had some really good laughs over the years via the internet. We’ve had some really good, deep conversations. He’s a net contributor. He’s a switched-on bloke, who does a lot of good work in his spare time for a youth organisation. He has a similar warped sense of humour to mine. He is also a big fan of Not the The Nine O’Clock News.
But will we get on when we meet? “Captain Paranoia” keeps whispering in my ear. People are different when you meet them in person, or if you mention Danny Jones, etc, who you couldn’t stand, and then it turns that Danny Jones is in fact, best mates with Grasshopper.
I go order another coffee and make a few phone calls. I surf on my smartphone and find a few cute animals videos to smile at and to forward to friends. My bladder tells me it is time to stand up and move. Toilet. Off to gate to meet’n’greet Grasshopper. Out he comes.
No hugs. No embraces. We pads brats don’t do that. A good firm handshake and pleasantries. Without further delay we head to our train, and then chat for England during the short hop to DUS Hauptbahnhof.
Twenty minutes later we two are sending Schatz a selfie from the Hbf, getting ready to explore my adopted home town.
Have a welcoming day won’t you!
[To be continued.]