It has been a while since I have shared the joys of public transport with you, today I shall remedy this. Our starter for ten will be the lovely young couple that sat opposite me on the trip to work on Monday, Mum, Dad and a charming young daughter. I was working on some documents that included 3D models which enthralled the young girl. For those that are not familiar with 3D modelling software it uses very vibrant colours to differentiate between components and so, to a child, looks like colouring in. It transpired that Mum and Dad were also interested having seen the company logo, Dad was a train maintainer. We exchanged pleasantries as one does in these situations and I discovered that Dad worked in a depot that I had once worked at. Our conversation led me to understand that the depot was much improved from the last time that I had visited when it was almost derelict. Dad proudly declared that his wife was also ‘on the firm’ as a train dispatcher and this meant 2 pensions so by 50 they would retire to the sun.
Now to the Dad this was the peacock moment, he was supremely satisfied with the position he had attained and in short all he had to do was keep pedalling. The young mother didn’t see life the same way. I think it was subconscious since they were clearly a very happy couple but nonetheless it was clear to see. Mum pushed the conversations on people that we would have in common or locations where opportunities could occur. She was looking to progress her husband’s lot in life, trying to stoke his ambition. This is one of the differences between the sexes, as a young mum she was looking at how life could be improved for her family. The dad? Oh he had glazed over dreaming, no doubt, of thirty years’ time when his family would be on the beach.
On Tuesday I travelled to Derby. An early arrival allowed me to secure one of the unreserved ‘priority seats’ rather than taking up the seas that the random reservation generator had selected. Whilst I was congratulating myself the seats around me filled and I realised that my IPod would be getting some use. The guy that sat opposite me appeared to be a sensible and well educated individual. This image was destroyed once he set about his snack. A dog would have made less noise when eating; seriously it was like an amplification of normal eating. I think that it may have been some modern diet technique, if you never close your mouth most of the food will fall out rather than being swallowed. The sandwich was near deafening for me and probably half of North London but when the Quavers came out I knew I needed earphones.
How do seemingly normal people exist with such appalling manners? Surely at some point he must have been out to dinner with a lady who has told him he eats like a naughty 2 year old. It is not uncommon to experience such glaringly abhorrent manners but of themselves they generate another problem. In today’s PC world (see Jenny I do PC) one cannot presume that this is some absence of childhood schooling. We have to sneak surreptitious observations to determine if there is some physical deformity or excuse for the spectacle. I found myself checking both sides of this guy’s face in case he was a 20 year old stroke victim. I guess herein lies the problem, rather than just condemn his oafish behaviour we are obliged to confirm our suspicions and he sees this observation. He probably thinks that he is an interesting character!
Once lunch was dispatched I removed my earphones and was immediately assaulted by a mad woman. This was a 50 odd year old woman and a near silent, younger colleague From the conversation that I heard, I won’t say overheard because it was held at a volume that made everybody part of it. They were some sort of architectural planning consultancy and the drawings of the school that the young man produced were met with over effusive comments. She banged the table and roared “f**king fabulous darling” like a sitcom character. They debated the stupidity of architects and difficulty of planners with repeated reference to names like Allen & Allen, Brokenhurst & Glyn and Jones & James. She made calls ending in “much love, bye, loves, mwah, bye” and promptly declared “that man is an idiot”.
She was clearly ‘educating’ the young man. When the guard came through she produced a stack of some 20 tickets with a flourish and requested “oh please sort that out darling”. I give my respect to the guard for not returning the pile and saying “no you sort it, that’s your job”. Instead, to the complaints from the loud woman that the tickets “all look the same” she gave a very measured response “that’s why we recommend keeping them separate”. Half way through writing this I looked up; the loud woman was sitting diagonally opposite in the next seat bay facing me. I noticed that she had one leg up; I can’t say why I noticed, it must have been the angle. At this point I realised why her young colleague was so quiet, the angle led the foot past his leg allowing the foot to borrow intimately. I can only say that I didn’t look up again!
I would also like to share with you one of those moments that we sometimes experience in bed. Having attacked the brilliant Dream Doctor (Stephen King) with vigour I resolved to call it a night last night. Having placed the kindle on the table and killed the lights I fell back on the pillow. Immediately something fell on the pillow about an inch from my ear and started moving. I am a rational adult but an Olympic housekeeping team have nothing on the speed at which I stripped that bed! Every piece of linen was in flight as I exited stage left, hit the light and stalked the predator that disturbed me. The spider that I discovered was maybe 1” long and couldn’t have weighed more than an ounce so why was it that it landed with a thump more in keeping with a cat? Apologies to the house keeping team for the mess
that 232 was in this morning.