I get on the over packed train, having sprinted like a lunatic to catch it, and look everywhere for a seat. I walk down carriage upon carriage of smug commuters looking for my own little slice of heaven, but alas…nowhere to sit.
Then, in between the two EMPTY first class compartments, just where the carriages are coupled, I find a fold down seat not dissimilar to the jump seats used by cabin crew on an aircraft. There’s no one around, there’s no one using it…so I sit down.
The train pulls away and I settle down to play games on my iPhone.
I look up and down the carriage and it’s standing room only as far as the eye can see. I’m definitely part of the smug crowd.
About 3 mins into the commute I hear footsteps getting closer and closer. They stop to my left and I sense someone stood over me.
I don’t look up.
“Can I help you sir?”, comes a voice in a thick African accent.
“Can I help you sir?”, he repeats, in exactly the same way.
“Oh do you want to see my ticket?” I ask, knowing full well what he’s getting at.
“You can’t sit here” he continues.
“Why’s that?” I ask.
“You can’t sit here” he repeats again, not actually answering my question.
I stand up “sorry, why can’t I sit here? The train is packed and there’s nowhere to sit”
“Dis is for staff sir” he says, stating the bleedin’ obvious.
“But there’s no one sat here” I argue, knowing I’m going to be as successful as a dog walker, bag in hand, watching their dog squirt diarrhoea all over the floor.
“Dis is for staff sir” he repeats, like a parrot who’s been taught a phrase but hasn’t got a clue about the right sort of delivery.
Polly want a cracker?
I look him in the eye, smile and say “Oh! I see! It’s for you is it?”
“It’s for staff sir” he says again, causing me to suspect he may, just possibly, be absent a personality.
“Oh, well in that case I’ll go and stand over there uncomfortably with everyone else. Thank you so very much”. I walk back through the EMPTY first class compartment and join the sauna.
“Dis is for staff”
Yeah, I heard you the first 9 times you insufferable Jobsworth.
Luckily this train is really, really delayed and I’m left standing here amongst the coughers, newspaper rustlers and that one guy whose ipod is turned up so loud he’s having problems keeping his balance.
I may garrotte him with his headphones.
Mind you, he hasn’t got to endure those annoying phone users who all take this opportunity to call home and advise of their tardiness. They all start the same bloody way; “hi hun it’s me…me. It’s me. Hello? Yeah it’s me. I’ve got no sig…hello? Yeah I’ve got no signal! Hello? Hello can you hear me? Hello…my train is delayed and….” (Cut off)
They then get called back (with their ringtone at full volume…enough to startle Mr iPod) and repeat the above conversation, almost word for word.
End and repeat.
End and repeat.
In the meantime the guard has pissed off down the train somewhere and isn’t even using the ‘staff seat’.