WE WERE HANGING AT THE Little London Fields festival in Dalston and we ran out of beer.
So, we walked over to the nearby convenience store, grabbed a few bottles of Red Stripe and approached the cashier. Near the checkout counter, however, we found a little, yellow, plastic ball.
It's not a soccer ball but it's painted like one. It weighs next to nothing. Hit someone with it and they might not even feel it.
I bought it. It cost me £1.49. And it may have been the greatest purchase of the trip, so far.
Of course, the early moments of my time with the ball were rather inauspicious.
When we left the store, it started raining. We retreated to the dance tent where the drum n' bass was pounding. I had to hold onto my ball, which was awkward since I was drinking and dancing. I waved the ball in the air to the beat and Meghan said, "Throw it."
Next thing I know, it was bouncing all around the tent. It took on a life of it's own. I thought I'd never see the ball again. But it seemed to be having fun.
An hour later, when the rain stopped, I was eating by the main stage. And wouldn't you know it - the ball flew through the air, soaring over the crowd.
We made our way over to the ball and wound up kicking the stupid, little, plastic ball for hours with random people.
We wound up meeting a bunch of folks and just having fun, laughing and playing, until well past dark (we arrived at the party around 4:30, I think).
That ball was an amazing cultural icebreaker. And it was tons of fun.
Luke (below, left) and Kevin continued kicking the ball all the way home on the tube. They hit numerous people with the thing. In Philly, that might earn you a beat down. Here, in London, even the tube passengers joined in the game. And they seemed to be enjoying themselves.