Read My Lips
I WAS TRAVELLING BY train to London recently, visiting a hospital that had agreed to allow me to observe a procedure that would bring tears to any man’s eyes. Not for my own benefit I stress, but in hope of some great material for a future column.
I'm hopeless where blood is concerned, just the combination of eating a lamb chop while watching Embarrassing Bodies, and I feel faint.
Anyway, I’d spent the first forty minutes of the journey swinging from an overhead hand rail, with someone’s nose buried in my armpit; I was really regretting not driving.
An irritatingly cheerful announcement bellowed out of the tannoy, informing everyone the train was ‘going slow’ due to congestion. Was the congestion “inside or outside the train” I shouted, to the amusement of the woman under me who was getting high from inhaling my deodorant. I reassured her it was an organic brand.
Frustrated at the possibility of having to stand for the remainder of my journey, I asked the conductor if I’d get a discount as they’d failed to provide me with a seat.
“Oh it’s always like this on a Tuesday”, he said nonchalantly. Going by the number of nodding heads around me, I realised I'd instantly got the support of my fellow passengers. Gaining in confidence I asked, “If you know it’s always like this on a Tuesday, why don’t you do something about it?” Somehow I’d propelled myself into the spokesperson for the entire carriage. Not wanting to look beaten I tried to explain that 40 plus people standing in a packed carriage really wasn’t safe. “If you have concerns about your safety Sir, you can complete a form on our website.” I wanted to ask if this meant they provided free Wi-Fi access, however conveniently for the conductor, the train started moving and at this point, I lost my grip on the hand rail. It was now my turn to sink my nose into the limb of the stranger next to me. By the time I got to my feet, our very unhelpful conductor had made a quick escape.
Earlier I'd been surprised to see three guys all entering the toilet cubical together. Now I understood why; more room, one seat between three, and it probably smelt better.
Silence hit the carriage again as our favourite conductor regrettably informed us "that the train will be delayed for a further twenty minutes.” However, the good news was “we do offer a buffet service, offering hot and cold drinks and a selection of snacks.” They lock us up on a train for a few hours, tire us out until we’re close to starving, and then charge us a small fortune for some dry old sandwich which needs the skills of an escapologist to open. Packaging, don’t get me started on that!
Finally, my lip reading skills aren’t great, but I didn’t understand why some guy in a smart suit kept shouting ‘cluck, cluck’ when he’d realised the graffiti on the window he’d been squashed against was actually still wet.
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