Travelling on the tube seems to turn humans into vultures. Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but there are clearly three types of people who inhabit the underground. You get the predators, who have a eagle eye for an empty seat and pounce across the carriage as soon as one becomes available. Then you get those who seem to be wrapped up in invisible bubble wrap – no matter what they won’t move down into the space in the carriage. And finally those who clearly want everyone to know they exist. They will sprawl their paper across their lap (and mine), or irritate the entire carriage with their own music.
Last week I found myself in an awkward situation. I was on the Metropolitan Line, travelling home after yet another long day. Tired, hungry and did I mention hungry. Anyway, I’m sitting on a three-seater seat, perched next to the window. There’s a fairly large man, six foot five to be exact, who I’ll call Aisle Man sitting on the aisle seat. The space between us would fit a small child.
Man Number Two enters. He sees the small space and is determined to fit. Here we go, I think to myself.
Aisle Man points out: “I know this is a three seater seat, but I’m big, you’re not going to fit.”
Man Number Two replies: “This seat was made for three. I will fit.”
Typical male characteristics may I just point out. Too much testosterone and lose of common sense as you will soon realise.
So in Man Number Two climbs in, with his numerous accessories; bags, umbrella and brief case. He squeezes. At this point, the way it was going, he might as well sit on top of me!
I turn to him: “Excuse me!”
He continues to shuffle himself on the edge of the sit pushing against me and Aisle Man. I couldn’t move. He was so close I could feel his body heat.
Finchley Road felt like the longest journey ever and he didn’t seem to be bothered at all. As he read his magazine I could hear peanuts being crushed by his teeth. Yes, he really was that close.
Finchley Road arrived and Aisle Man got up: “I told you I was big and there wasn’t enough room. The poor girl in the corner is squashed.”
Man Number Two turns and sees me, for perhaps, the first time in the journey. He moves over oblivious to the previous 15 minutes and continues his journey.
The end of that journey as you can imagine was a relief. Getting off that train, I walked home, taking in the fresh air and came home and immediately showered. It was definitely one of those journeys I was glad to see the end of. And as for Man Number Two – Think before you act!