Gerald Trantor from Camden today accidentally initiated a conversation with Atif Dasu, the owner of the corner shop he has used for 14 years. It is the first time they have exchanged any words besides ‘Eighty-nine pence please’ or ‘Sorry, I’ve got no change’.
‘I saw the story about the floods on all the front pages and, before I knew it, I’d asked if he was from Pakistan. It turns out his family is, but their village is on a hill so they’re okay.’ There followed a brief conversation on the necessity of ‘making do’ in difficult situations.
Mr Trantor is now concerned that he’ll have to engage in conversation on future visits to the newsagent. ‘But we won’t be able to talk about the floods forever. Maybe I’ll start going to the corner shop two minutes further down the road.’