Thursday, 3 July 2014

Travelling at the speed of blight.

I am not ordinarily a commuter. Working from home means that I don't have to travel with the morning hordes of miserable looking worker drones on trains.

I did however, have to travel into London yesterday on an invite and the promise of some freelance shifts, which meant I had to travel by train, the only logical way of travelling into London for a delightful half day of breathing in car fumes and being bounced around by go getting London pedestrians in a hurry.

Having been robbed of my life savings at the ticket desk by a surly looking heavyweight wrestler type with all the charm of a particularly downbeat Kim Jong Un with a frown, I took my seat aboard the sleek looking train that pulled up to platform one.

I say my seat, half of it belonged to a man with a huge arse in the seat adjoining it, who was dozing fitfully. I plonked myself into the space that was left with a cheery 'Morning!' Which released a few more precious inches of bum space. The carriage began to fill and all the seats were now taken, meaning I had to sit uncomfortably close to another mans' trouser flies next to my right ear, and the view of a shoulder bag that blocked out any peripheral vision.

A mixture of morning coffee, shower gel, body spray and commuter seat resentment was interwoven with the smell of long term career disappointment. And to think people endure this, day after day after day.

I was by this time, reading a book by Gary Bainbridge who himself is no stranger to the complexities of commuter life and the crushing disappointment of having to deal with other people. That, and the inability to come to terms with revolving doors, self flooding hotel rooms, complicated vouchers and vending machines. The man truly is a calamity magnet. Smiling at the thought that Liverpool has a man that keeps calamity far away up North, I settled down.

It was at this point, half way to Waterloo that a passage from the book disturbed the quietness of the carriage. Now, letting out an ordinary 'Pah-Ha-Ha' would indeed cause a few close by people to look at you with disdain, but having let out my 'Pah-Ha-Ha,' I then followed it up with a snort of such magnitude on the return inhale that everyone, and I mean everyone, turned in my direction.

There were looks of alarm, pity, annoyance and sheer shock on the faces of my fellow passengers.

'Sorry' I said... 'The book, you see, he's just punched a bee in the face and...'

Slowly, the faces returned to their newspapers, phones and tablets. They must have been reading about business, fiscal indices and law, for not one of them had a smile on their face, a look of mischief or a dreamy, far away look of imagination and the punching of bees in one's garden.

So I thank you Gary, for lightening my mood during a slow and painful journey. However, I cannot travel on this route into London again. I'm sure Twitter was awash with tales of the incredible snorting man, I may even have had my picture taken for future reference, so will have to avoid train travel in future. I will though, be taking your books onto the next 'plane I go on and attempt to frighten the bejesus out of the cabin crew with a well timed guffaw and snort.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman and is still waiting on the invention of the hover board.