As I have mentioned before, I use the London Underground every day. Some days it’s not too bad, but other days… there just aren’t words to describe the skin crawling grimness of it all.
Take, for example, the morning I got onto the tube and picked up a copy of the Metro which had been left on one of the seats. I settled down and began to leaf through looking for an interesting article only to find that someone must have ruptured an artery during their early morning journey and had used the newspaper to stem the flow. The newspaper looked like a prop from ‘Casualty’. However, despite the distress and blood loss whoever it was must have suffered, they had still managed to carefully fold the paper and leave it for the next unsuspecting person…me. Thanks for that, mate.
One curious habit people seem to have on the Underground is something I like to call ‘I’ll read that bit later’ syndrome. Now, I know it’s difficult to simultaneously read a newspaper, turn the pages and keep your balance when you’re standing on the tube, but really, if you feel the need to sneeze and spatter a couple of pages with flying globules of snot, please take the damned newspaper away with you and stick it in a bin. But unfortunately this doesn’t tend to happen. People sneeze into the newspaper and then quickly turn the page with an embarrassed ‘I’ll read that bit later’ look on their face. Then they get off the train and craftily leave the paper behind for the next poor sod to discover the extra ‘full stops’ they’ve left behind. As you can imagine, I never read copies of the Metro left on the tube anymore.
But it’s not all nastiness and horror on the tube; there are also a few angels floating around down there, too. I once saw an elderly gent get on an almost deserted carriage. He’d clearly managed to bash his hand on something because it was bleeding. Before I could blink, a young woman sat down next to him (where she’d come from, I’m not entirely sure) and she proceeded to smile and chat to the old man while she pulled a large first aid kit out from her bag (how many people have one of those lying about their person?) and began to clean and dress the wound. When she was done, the old man thanked her and she got up and wandered off as if nothing had happened. It was a curiously nice thing to behold, especially as these days you could pass out on the floor of the tube and, if people thought they could get away with it, they’d just step over you whilst frowning at your inconsideration for getting in their way.
Of course, if you get on the train one day and decide that all you really want is for everyone to go away and leave you alone, you can always try what one young guy did late one night. He’d clearly had a skinful and, obviously feeling a bit dopey, he collapsed onto a seat and snuggled himself up against the back of a young lady who was chatting to her friend and tried to go to sleep on her. She wasn’t best pleased and moved. Then the young man sat up a bit and, bleary eyed, began to puff his cheeks in and out. There was a comical moment as his end of the carriage cleared out down to the other end in an effort to avoid the fountain of puke that we all knew was about to erupt. I guess they don’t call the last train home the ‘vomit comet’ for nothing…
©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2010