Oh today...today is a day not like many other days...as it's today.
(ZentaiSpot's version of South Bank today is: Here)
8ºC today, so you know there is going to be at least 2 base layers plus the double layering of zentai on top. 4 layers of lycra without even flinching. I was far too excited to even start considering any arising issues that were unlikely to happen.
I packed a waterproof jacket just in case and my top hat in a bag so it wouldn't get dirty on the way. Keys and the like and trotted off down to the tube station.
Walking around in a pure zentai hood was wonderful! Even with the irritation of my eyelashes curling the wrong way or getting caught in the lycra, being totally anonymous without being mistaken for wearing some modified version of a Burqa was great.
Funnily enough, people weren't taking notice as much. They'd look but it was more of a, "oh my!" expression as opposed to "oh my GOD!!! RUUUNNN!!!". I mean there were still some of those, but they were far and few in comparison.
I walked into the tube system and to the platform and stood in my usual place when I heard the sweetest, most infecting laugh emanate from the right of me. I turned my head ever so slowly to see a toddler in her push chair with her hands out looking at me with the BIGGEST grin on her face.
I was stunned!
Usually it's the other way round, but it was amazing! I tilted my head ever so slightly and there it was again! She burst out in this little high pitched giggle that infected her sibling and mother and me after a while. Any movement I made, she'd giggle incessantly until I was completely still.
Even if the rest of the day were to turn sour right now, I wouldn't have cared. To know that I made a little toddler's day by just being different was good enough for me :-D
Still, the tube rocked up, and the mother was going to go further down the carriage but her daughter (the one not in the push chair) asked her to come in through the door I was in. I let them go in first to make sure they got on ok. The mum said thank you. And I perched myself on the other opposing door side as that's where I needed to get out. So the moving and giggling continued till I had to get off. The rest of this carriage didn't know what to make of us right at the top. The mum was smiling, the daughter too, and the toddler in the push chair...and I was making small silly gestures.
There were a few smiles, me thinks :-)
My stop to switch lines comes up and I wave bye. The toddler is still cracking up. I don't want to get off! But all good things come to an end...sometimes.
The rest of the tube ride went without a hitch and I got up at St. Paul's. Now, reading signs through a white and black hood isn't easy! But if you've got no issues about how you're portrayed to "the others" then putting your face right up to a sign board isn't going to be out of the norm. Saying that, I did opt to use a zoomed in Google maps on my phone instead.
Off I trotted to the rendezvous point between St. Paul's and the Millenium bridge.
I sent out a text message to both Andy and Spot about my exact location just to make sure no one was missed.
Sure enough Andy was on the bridge already so walked back up. In the mean time I was standing around and a lot of people were staring, taking photos, waving and the like. Again, not having the "ninja" hood on and being clad head-to-toe in zebra print seems to make people at ease with me.
So Andy finds me first, and we say hi and have a natter whilst he's changing his lens over. A few minutes later I hear him say, "oh look, there's a dalmatian"
Spot is walking down the stairs in his zentai too :-) Being over 10 meters away makes it hard to totally differentiate what's going on, but him in all white and spots made it easy. And I waved ecstatically at him. He waved back and approached where we were.
Little moving crowds would amass by us taking pictures and staring as we said our hello's and I introduced Spot to Andy.
First place Andy spied whilst on the bridge, was in fact UNDER the bridge. The tension cables (massive!) were just asking for climbing. Spot probably heard Andy call me Ms. Kitten a few times (yes, there's a panther *somewhere*) as he directed a few poses here and there.
Even if we were under a bridge, there are stairs either side to get down to river level (and other buildings on the north bank). As a result, as hidden as we were, we STILL attracted a LOT of attention! Andy let folks take pictures whenever whilst getting what he was thinking of too.
I don't know how Spot felt about having a photographer ask him to "pose" but he did really well if he's never done something like that before. Also, I don't know how many base layers he was wearing but he was shaking a wee bit! Even wearing 4 layers the wind under that bridge could be felt after a while!
Onwards! After clamoring over tension cables we walked over the bridge now to the other side of the "bow" in the bridge. Where you had the top of St. Paul's in view and the bridge disappearing into the horizon. Andy had me doing my random "headstand" thing I do (the zebra image of my banner up top is the bottom half of one he took in a studio type setting previously) and Spot was told to sit besides me.
I found that kinda random, and so did a whole horde of school children. It's like they came from NO WHERE! But they came up and asked us loads of questions, "Can you see? They can talk! You're a girl!! What are you? What are you doing? etc." Both Spot and I tried answering as many questions as we could till the teachers moved them along.
Apparently a boy went up to Andy further down the bridge and informed him, "that dog's not very good...he didn't do anything!" to which Andy replied, "I know!!" and the kid nodded in an affirmatively approving manner. Bless.
Once we got a few images (Spot was also given my top hat to play with too) and a few tourists/passer-by folk got some pictures with us, we were going to make our way into the Tate Modern. Not before we were stopped by these two guys...
"Excuse me, what do you think of that girl over there" One guy asked as he pointed to this (I presume) girl with a wig made of long wispy white hair, a terribly loud purple dress and an under garment that looked like it was made of fish net covering her arms and hands.
"Well what she's wearing is a hell of a lot more normal than what we're wearing" I responded without even thinking. There was a general giggle from the other guy, Spot and Andy.
"Do you think she looks lonely?" the same guy asks.
"Nah, she's an attention seeker" I say. Spot and Andy agree.
"Really? What makes you say that" he asks.
We go into this mini convo about what would define loneliness as opposed to someone screaming out for help. Basically if someone is lonely, they wouldn't advertise this through their clothing, nor would they be marching around like their life depended on it.
Satiated with our collective response we carried on and Andy put some money in a homeless fella's lap. Now, here's some twisted irony for you. Not less than 10 feet away is this film student who's probably got the bank of mum & dad & the government funding them, trying to portray loneliness. There's a homeless guy, who probably sits there day in, day out trying to get a few bits of money to keep loneliness at bay for just another day.
...(read on to pt2)