diamond geezer

 Thursday, November 30, 2006

My mp3 player's battery ran out during my journey to work yesterday, so I was forced to listen to my fellow commuters instead...
[Bow Road → Mile End] The train grinds to an unexpected halt inbetween stations. The all-enveloping silence in the carriage is suddenly punctuated by a loud snore. Sprawled across two seats is a well-fed bloke in oversized overalls, his head tipped back and his eyes firmly closed. His boots are splattered with dirty white paint, and his lunch dangles from one arm in a blue plastic bag. A second disturbingly loud snort fills the air, causing several nearby passengers to peer up from their newspapers. Intermittent snoring continue, reverberating in all directions as the train goes nowhere. The assembled audience begin to smile and glance at one another in guilty pleasure, relieved not to be the snoozing sideshow themselves. This unintended entertainment continues for three increasingly uncomfortable minutes. And then the train starts forward with a jolt, and one pair of heavy eyelids flick open. The semi-conscious traveller gathers his belongings and prepares to disembark at the next station, blissfully unaware of all the embarrassment he never felt.
[Liverpool Street → Bank] The carriage is rammed. Desperate commuters barge aboard from the platform. An off-duty London Underground employee in bulging blue uniform pushes past me to stake his claim to two square feet of spare floorspace. His over-thick head of grey speckled hair is somewhat unconvincing. A bulky laptop bag packed with official paperwork grazes my leg. As the doors clang shut, the newly-arrived tube worker taps the dreadlocked gentleman beside me on the shoulder. "Can you turn that down?" A hand emerges and pulls half a Sony headphone from one ear. No sound whatsoever can be heard. "Can you turn that down please?" Humiliated, the tapped man fiddles with an unseen volume knob and plugs himself back in. Tubebloke smiles, and looks to the rest of the carriage for implicit approval. Only one lady returns his gaze and smiles back. I feel a sudden urge to bash this sycophantic self-satisfied jobsworth over the head with a rolled up copy of the Daily Express for his totally unnecessary public intrusion, but I resist. The train screeches on through the noisiest tunnel on the entire tube network, far louder than any headphone bassbeat. Nobody utters another word.


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