There are some mornings, like yesterday’s, that really highlight all the things I love* about sharing my train journey with people.**
It started with the loud group of lads who boarded the train at Gatwick Airport; five young, loud examples of British testosterone…in shorts.
Fortunately I’d chosen not to sleep on the train that morning, apparently. It seemed I was only closing my eyes for effect; of which it had none.
As much as I’m not a fan of loud people on the train having loud conversations with each other, I was willing to forgive them as it was clear they were at the end of their time together and were still buzzing.
We’ve all done it.
We’ve all been there.
What I was not willing to forgive was three of them sat at one table (randomly leaving a blank fourth seat) with their suitcases piled high like a massive game of duty-free Jenga, one sat across the aisle from them at the other table next to a man reading his book (with two remaining empty seats) and the last one sat three rows back behind my wife and I.
Where’s the sense and logic in that?
The train was practically empty, so why didn’t they just sit together?
Maybe a couple of them wanted to sleep?
Maybe they’d fallen out and argued on their holiday resulting in that awkward silence the rest of us were so desperately hoping for.
They just continued to have their loud conversation across the entire carriage about ‘Natalie’ and ‘Gabriela’ and ‘Sam’, and who had added who on Facebook.
It’s OK guys, feel free to be as loud as fuck because I’m clearly not sleeping and that bloke at the table you’ve sat next to is clearly not reading his book. I think he’s more than happy to just sit there and admire the pretty words.
As expected, their conversation was the usual inane recounting about specific events of their holiday, whilst being extremely vague.
“What about that bloke at that place with the thing who seemed to be in every bar; the one that thought he was black but wasn’t!?”
“Oh yeah!” (said the other four, in unison)
Yeah? What about him?
Nothing. That’s what…nothing.
Soon enough the train started to get busier and the seats and aisles started filling with other commuters also discovering they didn’t wanting to sleep or read either, especially those who had chosen to sit in the empty seats confusingly left vacant by these flip-flop’d fools.
And speaking of vacant; these socially challenged pretty boys*** continued to buck the rules of public transport etiquette by communicating at top volume until their poorly chosen seating arrangements finally got the better of them and they (for want of a better phrase) shut the fuck up.
This meant I could sleep.
But wait, no it didn’t.
You see, the woman in the seat in front of me had this weird habit of banging her head on the headrest of her seat as she spoke to her colleague. It was like she’d rest her head after every sentence, thus continuously bumping the seat.
I’d never seen someone with the utter inability to keep her head still while she talked.
It wasn’t a weird tick or anything, as I would never mock the disabled, but she just gestured a lot and then kept bumping her head against the headrest at the end of every sentence.
“That’s a really good point”
“But maybe we should evaluate the business model further?”
“I feel we should raise the matter in the meeting this afternoon”
It was non stop.
So why was this an issue for me? Well, being 6ft tall my knees were pressed up against the back of her seat, so every 2 or 3 seconds I would get a wake up nudge from this bobble headed bint.
I thought about breaking off my legs and beating her to death with them…
…but instead I somehow managed to fold my legs under me like a contorted Buddhist and closed my eyes again.
As I placed my head back onto my own headrest I felt a weird, bumpy texture. My brain registered that it was actually the back of someone’s hand. The man stood in the aisle next to me had strangely placed his hand on my seat’s headrest, right behind my head.
Of course, with a whole network of handrails and handles to hold onto, it makes sense to steady your balance on someone’s seat; right behind their head!
Anyway, I jerked forward (as anyone would), turned to look up at him and, being very British, apologised.
In fact, we both did.
His was sincere.
*** the sort of guys with a more comprehensive beauty regime than most women. I swear one of them had shaved arms.