Last week, for instance, I survived the boarding scrum and, as any forward-thinking commuter, sought out my reservation. Of the four seats across a table one – mine – was occupied by a holdall spilling out various items of toiletries and food. I smiled, indicated the holdall and waved my reservation with every intention of forcing a showdown.
To state a fact without being too personal the young lady was of immense size, her flesh spilling in rolls over the armrests and table which she had commandeered for her laptop and papers.
“This train is always so full,” she moaned.
Only then did I realise that of the two seats opposite, one carried her giant suitcase. So that’s three seats for the price of one ticket! Talk about heckles rising! Had we not pulled into our fist stop to dislodge passengers my tongue would have released a lashing on rude and inconsiderate behaviour.
Across the aisle, a thirty-something male had wires dangling from his ears as he constantly checked his mobile while watching Merlin Series Two on a tablet. Multi-tasking par excellence!
Farther down an inspector, complete with ticket machine slung menacingly over one shoulder, shouted a cheery ‘let me squeeze past, please, ladies and gents!’ as he came upon the standing-in-the aisles brigade. His undeveloped sense of humour was not lost on the general public: the results of his obvious love of ale hung heavily over his belt. A woman two minutes from giving birth couldn’t match such a girth!
When I get home I play the ‘what if?’ game:
what if the giant suitcase made human sounds?
what if the owner’s punishment was never to be freed from her seat?
what if the ticket inspector disappeared as we entered a tunnel and the standing passengers congratulated themselves on a job well done?
what if the Merlin-watching man was a murderer?
what if I had unleashed my tongue?
No, travel is not for getting from A to B, travel is for ideas.