Friday, November 03, 2006

Hey ho hum drum

Well, I'm knackered. So I'm afraid nothing too thrilling this week - in fact it's been nearly a fortnight since I updated this blog. Not because I've been away (although I did pop up to Scotland overnight last Friday), or because I haven't been commuting (planes, trains and automobiles - thanks Rish) but just because I've been so busy at work that I haven't really paid much attention to what's been going on around me. I've been bringing my laptop home with me and working on the train, so I haven't really had the chance to observe what other people have been doing.

Fortunately, my spies have been doing a stalwart job of keeping me informed of whacky railway shennanigans that they have encountered themselves, and what better time to recount a few of these than when I'm a bit short on inspiration myself? There was a new version of that old classic the Very Public And Very Loud And Acrimonious Break-up, witnessed by my colleague RG, given an extra twist by being conducted by mobile (sample line: "So how is your new cock then? Is he good?"). Then there was another old standby of comedy sketchwriters - the Child In Public Place Saying Something Inappropriate, in this case a toddler standing on a table in a carriage saying "Fuck" over and over again very loudly, whilst his parents, presumably too embarressed to intervene (or just exceedingly liberal) pretended not to notice. Along similar lines, the inquisitive kid who interrogated his mother at great length and volume about why she did not want to go for a poo before they reached their stop (thanks again to RG - there must be something about that Somerset line).

Actually, now that I think of it, there was something notable I wanted to mention. It concerns the Tube again, rather than the mainline, and despite the fact that my main focus is overland, not underground, I do think it deserves recording. It occurred as I was getting on to the Tube train at Oxford Circus on Thursday, at the end of another longish and frustrating(ish) day. I always get on the rear carriage, because it's the one that stops nearest the escalators at Kings Cross, so I'm always charging head down towards the correct end of the platform while crowds of people jostle with each other for the chance to get in my way. I do like to think, however, that when I get to my spot, I'm quite courteous by Tube standards. I don't push in front of people, I always let passengers off the train first, and I'm very fair when it comes to people who were there before me but have been unlucky enough to pick the wrong place to stand, and end up behind me - often I'll go out of my way to let them on first. So on Thursday, as I took my bag off my shoulders (this tactic actually creates a lot more space on a crowded train) I was nonplussed to see a guy in an expensive suit and raincoat come out of nowhere and shove past me to get through the doors. This type of thing does, I'm afraid, tend to bring out the worst in me - it's like a red rag to a bull. So I got on and stood with my back to him, closer than I really needed to, just to cut down on his space. At Warren Street, someone got off to create a bit of extra room in front of me, and I edged forwards, having made my point. And d'you know what the guy did then? He got out a newspaper - an Express, I think it was - and noisily started to read it with lots of rustling, and not a thought for anyone else. Of course, this meant he was now taking up even more room. So I delierately backed into him, knowing that he couldn't see past me, so that he had to put the paper down by his side and crane his neck to read it. When we got to KC, he again tried to duck past me but I was having none of it - I had him sussed by now. Then he ran - actually ran - past me to get to the esclators first, but I overtook him halfway up, and exited the station just ahead of him.

Well, someone has to stand up for good manners.


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