Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thursday night on a suburban London train

I haven't been out much recently- at least not in the evenings.

The preparation for and arrival of young Luis, has affected life like the proverbial earthquake affects the landscape.

Therefore when I attended the retirement party this week and travelled home from the City around 11pm, it was with fresh eyes that I witnessed the antics on suburban trains especially at the end of the week- Thursday certainly counting in this respect.

First of all the train was full and had a slightly fetid sticky atmosphere. The few remaining seats covered in discarded free newspapers, empty bottles or other wrappers looked espescially unappealling not least due to the burger munching, dozing or dribbling neighbours on offer. I therefore decided to stand.

Near me the effect of an evening out in London was taking affect on some of my fellow passengers. Several were sleeping, one snoring erratically but noisily. The mandatory i-pods were playing in the ears of others, just a little too loud.

One chap, little more than 20, was obviously feeling the results of drinking too many beers and was writhing uncomfortably on his seat. First he tried to lay his head back onto the head rest touched previously by a thousand heads in various conditions, then he turned to one side, then the other. Finally he twisted his body turned back on himself and lay his apparently throbbing forehead on the seat.

The train that started full gradually emptied.

The last character to make himself known was the booze fuelled Lothario (BFL). Pot-bellied, in his mid-forties with closely cropped hair to disguise his receding hair line he ambled out of his seat and stood near the opposite door where a young lady was standing grasping her outsized handbag. As the door closed at one station BFL play acted that the closing automatic door had almost hit his head. The young lady out of some misplaced feeling of politeness or maybe just nervousness laughed on queue. BFL then smile back although she realising the potential situation looked to the floor and pretended to be lost in the music from her i-pod. BFL was not particularly troublesome and appeared to know the limits of his attraction.

Nonetheless at his station he said to the young lady, "Thank you very much" (for what ?!), picked up left hand and planted a rather drunken kiss on it. He then sauntered off into the night while the young lady quickly pressed the door close button and returned to her i-pod.

At my station I was accompanied by some late workers but mainly late drinkers and realised what a difference a few hours and few drinks causes in suburban London commuters and their normally reserved behaviour.


cw-patriot said...

Very interesting and insightful comments, and very well written!

Thank you for sharing.

Luis said...

Thank you Joanie. Nice to hear from you ! The trains aren't always that bad over here !