Saturday, January 06, 2007

Conversations on the way to London Bridge

This week London has been slow to get back to work and the papers are reporting that trains restaurants, taxis and offices are all quieter as people take extra holiday into the New Year.

I however have no such luxury and made my way into London on January 2nd.

A minority of regular commuters seem to travel with friends- either genuine friends or "train friends" who they have got talking to after commuting on the same train for a number of years- making friends can be a slow business in the UK !

The majority, including myself, are generally silent. I have been taking my current route less than a year and certainly have no "friends" on the train !

However the silent majority is sometimes forced to listen to the early morning chats of the talking minority. Some chats can be truly banal and limited to decorating, gardens and sales in the shops. I heard one woman tell a "story" of how her the top half of her umbrella had shot accross the room when she had tried to open it.

Others go a little deeper. Animated mothers bemoan the state of schools or children's behaviour in general. More morbid older commuters run through all their family and friends who are suffering ill health (or worse) at present. Shameless girls recount their latest "man fiascos" for all to hear. "Lads" laugh over the latest stag weekend or similar.

At New Year, people were scratching around for material after quickly exhausting the topic of who they had visited on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Most Christmas's were reported as "just family, you know" with reassurance "it was good though".

On January 2, I was trying to read my book while two loud voiced men accompanying a bored looking woman recounted their Christmas's. Once that was exhausted, the main talker, a man in his 30s turned his attention to the progress of his house purchase. House purchasing can be slow and complicated here so there are always "tales of woe" possible.

Once that was done and the train was stopped about 2 miles from London Bridge, the talker turned to current events for inspiration. "So old James Browne died. Did you see that ?". His companion had but there was a disagreement about the date he had died.

"What about Saddam ?" the house purchaser asked chirpily. "Did you catch the old neck break ?". "It was on the web but they may have taken it down now".

His companion had clearly not seen this as a highlight of his Christmas holiday and as a number of passengers peered nervously over their papers to see who this psycho was, the train at last arrived at London Bridge.

There it is, the conversations on the train to London Bridge. Everything from failed dates to nasty videos of "unseemly" (per The Sun), "undignified" (per George W Bush) executions get discussed by someone.

The rest of us can only listen...............

No comments: