Here's a cautionary tale about why you shouldn't even *think* about fragging around with the Freemasons. Not even a little bit. In fact, you probably shouldn't be reading this at all.
There's a chap who lives elsewhere in our block who works in the City and often takes the same trains as me, all the way to Bank. Both of us by nature are pretty solitary and prefer to spend the journey with our heads buried in books. On occasions I've hid behind pillars to avoid him and I'm damn sure he's done the same with me.
However, circumstances and social niceties being what they are, we sometimes find we have no option but to talk to each other. And, when we do, we get on just fine. He's a nice bloke and good company. It's just that somethimes you want to be on your own, right?
This morning was clearly one of those mornings for him. I was leaning on one of the lamp posts on the platform when I saw him striding down the platform towards me. His nose was buried in a slim red book and his lips were moving as he read. He looked as if he was reciting poetry to himself, or learning Maoist doctrine.
He was literally an arm's length away from me when he saw me. I wasn't going to say anything – he was obviously absorbed – but he spotted me, stopped, and waved the book at me. I caught a glimpse of red and black text in a traditional typeface. “I'm a Freemason,” he said and explained briefly that he had stuff to learn. Then he disappeared up the platform, book open and lips moving again.
We met up again at Waterloo and travelled to Bank together. No mention was made of the book or of the Freemasons – we talked of other things, such as Fleetwood Mac, instead.
Later, when I sat down to write this, I tried to Google the Freemasons to provide a link for those unfamiliar with the world's premier secret society. The first page I tried froze my browser, wiping my initial draft of this post, and then crashed the entire PC.
Like I say – don't mess with the masons…