Thursday, 6 March 2014
I travel on the train a lot. Trains have their own little world, communities of fellow travellers (not often you get to use that term non-pejoratively). There are fairly rigid structures on trains. People stand in the same spot every day. And it's always funny when you get on the train and there are intruders - two guys going up to Dublin for some reason, a mother and daughter on a shopping trip and occasionally someone on their way to court. They have no idea the confusion they create by deciding to stand in the middle of the buffet car, right in the middle of someone's space. There's shuffling, strategic placing of bags and a standing too close in hope they get the message.
Sometimes someone just disappears after years of seeing them every day. Have they died? Retired or changed jobs? Sitting at home with a broken leg? Occasionally a new person becomes a regular. Perhaps randomly, perhaps someone's sister who can't quite decide which is worse, standing with her brother and his very peculiar train mates, or taking her chances further down the train.
There are some odd people. Or people whose behaviour can be odd. I'll mention three: Top Girl, Hat Boy and Impatient Man.
Top Girl gets on the train wearing a top. A fairly standard top, a plain coloured cottony top. Halfway through the journey she goes into the toilets and changes her top. It's not into a work top. It's not a better quality blouse. She doesn't cycle or run to the train. It's just another plain coloured top, from teal to lilac, from black to red. Intriguing.
Hat Boy is a hoverer, a lurker. He stands awkwardly on the platform. He stays near the end of carriages, not quite committing to one or the other. He uses the reflections in the windows and the overhead luggage racks to watch people.
Impatient Man behaves as if the train will go faster and arrive sooner if he pants and runs up and down the carriage. He must be first off the train, even if this means barging past people to get to the door. On one notable occasion he stood on the back of someone's foot and got a dig for his troubles. He has been known to lift people's cups of tea or coffee and just drop them on the floor.
Perhaps somewhere, there is a blogger writing about Catholicus Nua, the odd ball on the train. Who knows?