Thursday, April 09, 2009

Top five commuting characters

1. Mobile phone woman:

A peripatetic agony aunt, this benevolent repository of relationship advice can often be found on early-eveing trains, tuttting sympathetically at intervals of five seconds or so, as her correspondent (so we assume) pours out her troubles on the other end of the line. Occasionaly interjects something more substantial along the lines of "Well he doesn't desrve you." or "Yeah but no but" etc

2. Ipod man:

I'm making a bit of a sweeping generalisation here - I'm sure many of them are bog-standard MP3 players and not over-priced gadgets from a certain computer company. Ipod man, though, is above generalisations. In fact, nothing makes much of an impression on him, because his senses have long since been dulled by the sheer thumping volume of the music on his headphones. Takes great pleasure in catching the eye of a fellow passenger and pretending not to be aware that his personal choice of tunes cn be heard three carriages away.

3. Crisp-eating person:

Crisp-eating person is, as the name suggests, not an individual of fixed gender. Rather, he/she is an archetype, whose role can be easily filled, and with a delicious sense of inevitability is usually filled, as soon as the person in the row in front opens a book and starts to read it. A distant relative of Popcorn man, that well-known denizen of the cinema.

4. Freesheet reader:

Freesheet reader is the fastest reader anywhere in the wolrd, who has taken skim-reading to another level. Freesheet reader doesn't so much skim as pass over, bouncing very occasionally on the surface like a seaplane about to land. Possesses an unhealthy interest in inane thirty-second interviews and star signs.

5. Bike man

One cannot forget or, alas, ignore Bike man, for the simple resaon that his bike manages to get in the way of every single passenger in the carriage. Bike man's bike never folds, as according to compsny policy on bicycles, and is therefore wheeled into the vestibule so that other people's legs and ankles can be assaulted.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Look, it's a lift okay?

I've signed up to a kind of self-help for bloggers course, and the first task I've been set is to come up with an Elevator Pitch (so-called because it should be concise yet persuasive enough for you to convince a buyer in the time it takes to share a lift with him) for my blog. So, here goes:

The Happy Commuter takes a sideways glance at the daily commute on an average suburban mainline railway, celebrating its customs, its unwritten rules and rituals, and most of all the cast of characters with whom I share my journey. My aim is to provide commuters themselves with a brief respite from their unremitting gloom by gently reminding them of the absurdity of fighting over an uncomfortable seat on a crowded train.

Hmm. Needs a bit of work. I'll come back to this. It's late. You see, in a twist both ironic and strangely fitting, I was delayed on my journey home tonight. There was a fatality at Finsbury Park, and everything was backed up coming out of Kings Cross.