Friday, March 19, 2010

This is your lucky day

Every day I look at my personal email account, and spend a few minutes shovelling away spam.  I'm not going to complain here about the never-ending tide of Viagra adverts, bored teens desperate to show me their new piercings which seem to strangely enough be on a Russian dating website, and offers to help shift ONE MILLION POUNDS out of Nigeria.  (Although there aren't so many 401 scam mails these days, or is that just me?)  I wouldn't want to complain about that at all, because so many people have done so in more eloquent or comprehensive ways than I'd wish to attempt.
What is annoying is when you get spammed on the street.

I strolled out for lunch at about half-past twelve and I was making my way up Queen's Road Central, towards the walkway over the road, when I heard somebody say hello.  I made the schoolboy error of turning to see who it was, because these years away from London have made me slough off my leathery hide of rudeness.

It was nobody I recognised, and then an Indian guy with a beard homed in on my from out of my peripheral vision, and started telling me what a lucky face I had.  Obviously, it's best to take compliments where you can, but this did seem a slightly strange thing for him to be saying.  Perhaps he thought we were kindred spirits because we both had beards.  But I don't think facial hair defines somebody's character completely.  Otherwise we might have let Slobodan Milosevic off on the basis of him not being the cleanshaven man he used to be.

I'd had to wait for the traffic lights, but with the green man lit, I started to walk along the road, and he followed me, telling me that this was going to be a good year for me, and asking me if I was happy.  And then saying that a lot of people are happy on the outside, but they have some thing which they're sad about inside.  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind one voice was saying "gosh, how perceptive!" while another was mumbling something about cold readings and the bogusity of street psychics.

So we continued up the street, with him telling me that this was going to be a most profitable year (come on, please - is this the same man who keeps writing to me on behalf of King Casino 888 telling me how this is going to be my lucky day), and then asking me if I was married.  Well really.  If you're going to try to show how wise you are, it wouldn't be so hard to look for a wedding ring and adjust your spiel accordingly.  Plus, I don't feel asking for details on various other details of my private life are appropriate when we've only just met.

This got us as far as the walkway to the HSBC building, when he got out a bit of paper and started to ask me to write something down on it.  I wasn't having any of that - now I was starting to remember people telling me about the fortune tellers in Tsim Sha Tsui that would "do the numbers", tell you how lucky you were, and then chase you for several hundred dollars.  I told him that I was busy, and fled over the walkway.

He didn't follow, which leads me to believe there wasn't anything genuinely important he had to impart, but although the likelihood of that was fairly close to nil anyway, it seems strange that even fairly harmless confidence tricksters are incapable of following their marks across raised walkways.  Or is this like witches not being able to cross running water?  I don't think there's any particular superstitions about bearded Indians not being able to pass above moving vehicles, but perhaps I should consult the Big Book Of Ill-Informed Prejudices when I get home tonight.

In other news, the South China Morning Post reports that American gambling regulators think that there might be organised crime doing things in casinos in Macau.  Organised crime?  Casinos?  Whatever next?  Still, at least there's never been anything of the sort going on in the US...


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