I also noticed an unsettling thing; a cigarette burning alone on the pavement and stinking up the night utterly detached from its 'smoker'. The road it was on is about half a mile in length and nobody was around. It was a lonely urban sight, like the time I saw a pigeon eat a chipstick out of dog doo doo in Kells, or when my twin brother and I considered a soiled Huggies pull-up with a pringle on it in the centre of the road in Ringsend - "symbol of Celtic Tiger" was his take.
Anyway, I'm a week into my new job. The coolest thing about it so far is that I take something called a 'paternoster' to get to my office which is on the sixteenth floor of the tallest building on campus. Yall want to know what a paternoster is don't ye? Wut no? Well I'm going to tell you anyway.
A paternoster is an endlessly rotating lift named after the Rosary because it presumably mimics the path of beads through religious fingers. You know the bit in the Simpsons when Millhouse's Dad pathetically proclaims after his divorce 'I sleep in a Race Car, do you?' and nods to his race car shaped bed? Well just imagine me saying 'I go to work in a paternoster' in the same tone of voice to get the full effect of me boring you with this mundane fact.
Related to this mundane fact is the fact that on a recent train trip from Leicester to London I saw both a crop circle and the Weetabix factory. A confluence of oddness that completely confirmed everything I think (love) about England. On the same train journey an entire family initiated conversation and friendship with me, which is another brill thing the Brits do so well.
So my new job, the deets. In my new job I work with people who are investigating people taken in by the biggest fraud online at the moment, the west African romance scam. The facts pertaining to this scam are so horrifying that I've spent the last few days just thinking about it and why other humans would do such a thing to their fellow bipedal creatures. There is a lyric in a song by Arthur Lee, 'alone again or', where he sings 'I think people are the greatest fun'. I always loved this lyric because, to me, it was another person singing about just how cool and nice other humans are - in a gobsmacked psychedelic way admittedly. Now that I am involved in this field of research I'm not too sure. 500,000 Britons are involved in the scam as victims and it costs the country 3 billion a year. I obviously can't disclose identifying personal information about the victims, but those who are scammed are so gentle, warm-hearted, and trusting, that it is genuinely freaky to think of the level of depersonalisation (or whatever way the scammers rationalise it) mentally required to defraud them. Check it out on Crimewatch here. Also, while I don't think it happened in his case, the scammers push the envelope and humiliate their victims using chat cams. It's the bit that disturbs me most, because there's no financial benefit in it - just the 'benefit' of seeing a vulnerable fellow human humiliated in the cruelest way.
I'm happy I've ended up doing this job because it means I can help people tangibly.
MP3: Love-Alone Again Or