17 July, 2006

Wedded bliss

"Look love," huffed the man into his mobile phone, "I don't care what you think. You can ring up Victoria station if you want, just don't give me a whole plate of bollocks."

The whole Underground carriage couldn't help but hear. The man was talking at such volume it was impossible not to hear. But what with everybody's blood pressure sky high given the accursed heat and absence of fresh air, this outburst seemed natural, even inevitable, and well worth paying attention to.

"Look, I've been up since half past five, I've been out working in the sun all day, I haven't had a bean, I haven't had a drink, and you think summat funny's going on?" The speaker was wearing a red England football shirt, a dirty pair of shorts and a crooked frown. "I got on the train at 5.51! How many times?!"

Quite a few, as it turned out. It beats me why people feel moved to have such prickly, personal conversations in such unashamedly public environments. Even if you find yourself engaged in a trickly exchange of contrary views, why bellow and fume rather than whisper some terse threats until a more dignified and secluded moment arises?

Fortunately, or perhaps not, I got off the train before this exchange reached its conclusion. By this point the man was almost sprawled sideways along the side of the carriage, somewhat betraying his earlier protestation of abstinence, and snarling to himself like a wounded dog.

You just knew he would walk into his house and expect his tea on the table "and no funny business."


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