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There are two of us picking up this man. We are a team. I have the strength and the sweaty brow, he has the experience and the hip-replacement. But we're doing it. We are actually getting this man back to his feet. He has been on the floor for ten minutes, which is too long for anyone to be on the floor of a shopping centre really. If I had actually realised he didn't want to be on the floor, I would have probably helped him up much earlier. But that's the trouble with cafe-curtains, sometimes they just don't allow you to see. Which is why, instead of helping him up, I am eating scones with my girlfriend and wondering which decade this part of the coffee shop is supposed to resemble. Based on the cafe-curtains we decide on 1947. Which was probably the year my future partner in lifting was first experiencing long trousers. Not that I've met him yet. In fact, I am completely oblivious as to what is about to happen.

But then it does happen. The coffee shop usher (yes, I frequent coffee shops that employ ushers) is next to me, asking for a hand in helping a man to his feet. I don't even have time to say yes, my legs had already started following him. Thirty seconds later we had made it the ten yards to the man on the floor. Sadly, this isn't a joke. We both grab an arm each and haul the man to his feet. The man doesn't seem to know what is happening. I begin to worry that my comrade and I have picked on the wrong man. Maybe he's an artist. Maybe he's a breakdancer. Maybe he was a asleep. Thankfully though my worries are allayed. The man says, 'Thank you, Sir'. I like being called Sir. It doesn't happen enough. Unless someone thinks I'm Andrew Strauss. I look at Hip-Rep - as I have started to call him in my mind - and a feel a tinge of pride. If it wasn't for him and his inability to lift alone, we would never have met. But now we had. And now we had started something. And there was much to do. The world was our oyster. I had always wanted the world to be my oyster. For so long it had just been earth. Now it was an oyster. And oysters are slippery. People would be falling about all over the place. Hip-Rep and I had a future together. A future of lifting people up. A future of getting people back on their feet and saying, 'On your way now'. I liked that. That was me.

But then something odd happens. Hip-Rep walks back inside the coffee shop and gets on with ushering people to tables. Glumly, I sit down next to my girlfriend. 'Did he say thank you?' she said. 'Yes,' I replied. But somehow it wasn't quite enough.

This post was written listening to the burglar alarm up the road.

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