Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Tube Journeys

Tube journeys always interest me. I like to observe. To see how people react when confined and squashed up against each other. Rather like the time my cousin in Cyprus put twenty neighbourhood cats in a rabbit hutch until it turned into a seething mass of thrashing fur and wailing cries of feline despair, humans are not designed to infiltrate each others sweaty auras in such close proximity.

If I have a seat on the tube, I'm fine. I can relax and watch everyone avoid each others eye contact. Those subtle non-verbal communications on the tube fascinate me. For some people it is all they can do to stop themselves flying into a ball of rage until they reach their stop.

If I don't have a seat, then I try to detach myself from reality, ignore the festering armpit from the lanky streak of piss standing in front of me, whilst also trying to ignore the hot conker in the pants of the fat man wedged up behind me. Tube journeys are not necessarily pleasant, but they are functional and always interesting. Especially if a gibbering madman gets on as well.

The other day I was on the tube, and I sat next to this bloke who had his legs akimbo, like some sort of Blind Date contestant, thrusting his horse like genitals in the general direction of female society. This to me is a challenge. His leg is at least 2 centimetres in my chair perimeter exclusion zone. So I wedge my leg up against his, much as this disgusts me, hoping he, rather than me gives up the physical contact challenge because of his realisation that my revulsion is blocked out by my sense of injustice that he is invading my personal space. And yes. I won! He moved his leg. I did a mental dance of victory. I knew he was angry. Motherf***er! Ha!

A small victory, but an important one.

Now what if an eldery person gets on? I would normally offer my seat. But what they were of borderline pensionable age? I'm all for chivalry and good manners, but I don't want to insult a 55 year old for instance by offering her a seat when she thinks she is a young Helen Mirren. Same goes for pregnant women. What if they are just fat? What do you do then? Humiliate yourself and the woman in question? I second guess myself all the time, procastinating over the right thing to do, 8 zillion computations per second and not making a decision. Whilst thinking like this, other functions collapse, my brain cannot take the strain, so like the starship enterprise, I have to divert life support power to thinking. I haven't stopped breathing in this state yet, but I do turn into a dribbling expressionless freak with a collapsed face, and then nobody wants to sit next to me or have my seat anyway. Such a cruel irony.

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