diamond geezer

 Thursday, March 13, 2003

trigger = 150The Press

There are 68 seats in every District Line train carriage. When there are more than 68 people in the carriage, you have to stand, or maybe lean. There are 16 glass bits you can lean against next to the main doors and there are 2 more doors to lean against at the end of each carriage. When there are more than 86 people in the carriage, you have to stand and hang on. There are 16 metal poles to hang onto in every carriage, two for each door. When there are more than 102 people in the carriage, you have to grab one of the dangly strap things. There are 48 dangly straps in every carriage. When there are more than 150 people in the carriage, there's nothing left to hang onto. When there's nothing left to hang onto, I can't read my newspaper.

When I can't read my newspaper, I have to resort to 'not-looking' at people. This a special skill only found on public transport and in doctors' waiting rooms, involving staring at anything, everything, even the stain on the window, just to avoid looking directly at someone else. This isn't normally a problem, because all the other people are busy 'not-looking' too, or else they're amongst the 150 who don't need to 'not-look' because they can read their books and newspapers in relative comfort.

This morning, for the second day in a row, I bought my daily newspaper, boarded my District Line train and entered a jam-packed carriage containing more than 150 people. For the second day in a row I ended up travelling to work carrying a newspaper I couldn't possibly read. Yesterday I had to resort to spending the entire journey 'not-looking'. Today, however, I'd brought with me that special mini-booklet of 21st century classics off the front of my Word magazine. It was thankfully still possible to read a mini-booklet measuring 12½cm by 9½ cm in a tube carriage containing more than 150 people. This improved my journey no end. I spent my journey agreeing with their choices for the best recent film and trivia book, and now I'm going to hunt down their suggestion for the best theory book. I might even try reading that book on my way into work on Monday, just so long as 150 other people don't have the same idea.

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