Saturday, March 10, 2007

In the wee small hours of the morning

Well, not quite. But we were on one of the last trains home on Thursday night after an evening at the theatre in London (late deal from the Net). The final curtain came down at around half ten but due to another tiresome episode involving my disappearing train pass we were delayed getting to Kings Cross, and by the time we got ourselves on a train it was nearing the witching hour. Late-night commuting is always fascinating, to me at least, because of the characters you get. Actually it was fairly civilised this time (other than the young woman berating her husband for not keeping things safely in his pocket, the sight of which caused the weary travellers some amusement I'm sure). Perhaps we just picked the wrong carriage. There was, however, Chewing Gum Man, to keep this correspondent stocked with material.

I suspect it may just be me, but I have to admit to a horrible tendency to stare at gum chewers. Particularly on trains, where I find myself unable to tear my attention away from them. I suspect it is my commuting instincts, which put me in a heightened sense of awareness vis a vis everyone else around me, but it seems to me as if people chew more ostentatiously on the train than elsewhere (doesn't happen on buses - it really is a train-specific phenomenon). This particular chap on Thursday night was not, mercifully, one of the open-mouthed brigade (at least not until we reached Stevenage, when for some reason he decided we would all benefit from a good look at his tonsils - although if one were being cruel, one might say that at least it provided a welcome distraction from the town itself). But my word, did he give that gum a good going over. He seemed to be trying to grind it into submission. He chewed his gum like my dad rides an exercise bike at the gym - and anyone who has ever witnessed my father at the gym will know exactly what I mean. No quarter asked, none given - you could see the veins standing out on his forehead. By the time he embarked on what we might call the post-Stevenage sprint for the line (the aforementioned open-mouth bit) his jaw had been through the oral equivalent of a full-body workout. There are, by all account, serveral hundred muscles in the jaw, and I'm guessing he used every single one of them. I hope I didn't stare too much, although from the triumphant grimace he shot me as I exited the train, I suspect I may have done.

As for the train pass, well, I dragged The Wife back to the theatre to check if they had picked it up (they hadn't), then back to my office to see if we could find it on my desk (we couldn't), and then rang the restaurant we'd eaten in to see if they had it (they didn't). I bought a ticket home, then a full-fare Travelcard on Friday. I was just leaving the office for the weekend, via the photo booth to get some passport photos and replace the darn thing, when I chanced to move a book on my desk and there it was. Oh, how we all laughed.


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