Using public transport gives you an opportunity to interact with people that you wouldn’t normally see, to be honest I wouldn’t even know where to see these people if it wasn’t public transport, after all the asylums are all shut now. On Friday I took the staff train from work so on arrival at seven sisters station the train was empty with the exception of me in the lead car and the guy that embarked and sat opposite me knew that this wasn’t quite normal. I need to make it clear that it this guy looked very conservative and actually quite normal but he was very suspicious, apparently of the fact that the train had arrived with only one passenger. My companion eyed me cautiously before slowly checking the rest of the passengers that had joined with him, then he snapped back to me as if trying to catch me unawares, once reasonably sure that there were no thieves on the train he cautiously withdrew his prized possession from a pocket within his jacket.
The possession? A can of super strength cider of course, how else does one get through a Friday morning! Sadly we see a lot of drunks littering the city nowadays, I guess we always have, but this one was unique in his approach. There was not a single visual clue as to his problem, he was smart, his face hadn’t taken on many of the tell tale signs of alcohol abuse and he was not snarling and guarding his grog in the traditional stance, his protection was that of a man who had something everyone else wanted. He was great to watch, a thorough grid by grid review of the people in the carriage preceded every furtive sip at the can and the look of smug delight that this elicited was quickly replaced by something close to contempt for the poor fools that had no can of their own. Unfortunately I only travel a couple of stops so I did not have time to observe him for longer I did notice that he eyed me nervously when I left the train though, my fascinated observation must have been confused with nefarious plotting.
I love people watching and it strikes me that we have missed an opportunity in the modern world to record that which surrounds us, when I was an apprentice the railways employed photographers to capture moments, presentations and the like, when they had no requests they just wandered the network recording things for prosperity. I think that the mayor of London should look to create a role for somebody to wander the network and document the vast number of ‘characters’ that use the system, there’s got to be a book in the making there surely? In fact, if he advertises the role I will apply, I don’t know about poet laureate, drunks in metros that’s where the interest is!
Whilst I am tidying out my mind of the things that I have noted for the blog I have to visit Peter and the great condiment confusion. Last weekend Peter was not well so it was good to see him on Monday when the subject of what had turned him rough was the prime topic of conversation, Peter was convinced that it was the salad cream* that he had on his sandwich because it had gone watery so was clearly no good. The general consensus was that salad cream doesn’t age, its one of those nuclear holocaust proof products made by scientists in a laboratory, Pete was adamant that it should be refrigerated and discarded three weeks after opening but most of us had bottles much older than that stored in cupboards. So had Pete obtained some particularly fragile concoction? His partner Donna confirmed no ill effects from anything else that they had eaten so what else could it be? Well Donna did mention that on leaving the pub the warm and happy side of inebriated they had consumed a couple of bottles of wine before steaming through a bottle of Baileys.
Pete was still adamant that it wasn’t alcohol that had caused his issue it was most definitely dodgy salad cream, then it struck us Baileys is a cream liqueur so when your drunk it would seem like runny salad cream. The reason for the bout of sickness was that he had tried to produce a cheese and Baileys sandwich! Obviously Pete disputes the conclusion that bottle confusion was the cause of his issue but I think we can draw our own conclusions from the fact that he has not provided said bad salad cream in evidence.
*For those outside of the UK think mayonnaise made in a chemical plant