I sat out the last quarter of an hour at aikido last night, as I'd been feeling sick and thought it best not to puke over the mats, which are quite expensive. My hunch was that the sickness had been caused by some of the techniques we'd been practising, which involved a fair bit of spinning around. As it turned out, I'd actually picked up some crappy bug - stomachy, heady, achy thing - and I was therefore feeling fairly fragile this morning. Most people can just call in sick, but I'm self-employed and had a group of delegates waiting to be trained in copywriting skills up in central London. So poor old Phil dragged himself down to the bus stop for the start of the journey.
I was joined by a teenage boy with a strong African accent who very politely asked me if I knew whether there was a church nearby.
"What kind of church do you mean?" I replied.
"Oh," he said. "Just the normal kind. Pentecostal."
Alarm bells started to ring. People in south-west London aren't generally that big on speaking in tongues and so on, so I directed him to the nearest Baptist establishment which is maybe a ten-minute walk away. I expected him to leap up from his seat with a cheery word of thanks and be on his way. Instead, he subjected me to a grilling about my personal habits.
Had I ever told a lie?
"Err... well, I don't think there are many people who have never told any lie."
"So you are a liar?"
"Err... well, um, I think liar implies that people are telling lies on a regular basis or particularly big lies."
And so it went on.
Had I ever stolen anything?
Did I lust after women?
He concluded after a few minutes that I was a lustful, fibbing thief who needed to watch my step when it came to the Day of Judgement. Thankfully, at this point, the 281 arrived.