In case you're kicking your little legs about with excitement, desperate to read the next chapter in the incomparable saga "battle for the rear-facing seat", there'll be more of that soon. But in the meantime...
The train was packed. To be fair the train is always packed. But this time it was heaving. I was in the twelfth (and rear) carriage. I always sit in that carriage on the way home. Not because of some obsessive-compulsive tick, but because for no apparent reason it tends to have the most free seats (yes I have slowly tested each and every of the twelve carriages, and no I'm not a monomaniac on the subject of personal space).
Anyway, the train has twelve carriages, and I was in the one at the back. Some of the stations on route have tiny platforms which are only long enough for four carriages. Each evening on the way home the following happens:
1) Every 2 minutes an automated announcement is broadcast. It says "Passengers for stations X,Y and Z need to be in the front four carriages as these stations have very short platforms."
2) A bunch of half-wits in the twelfth carriage completely ignore the two-minutely broadcast for their entire journey. Just as the train pulls in to their short-platformed station they curse, panic, and attempt to run through eight crowded carriages in the remaining twenty seconds before the train stops.
3) The motley group of commuters in the twelfth carriage enjoy a sweet piece of camaraderie, snickering, laughing and deriding. Not that we take any joy from the misfortune of half-wits. None whatsoever.
On this particular occasion a smooching couple were in the same seating area as myself and four others. Every two minutes the broadcast came over the intercom.
"Passengers for stations X,Y and Z need to be in the front four carriages as these stations have very short platforms."
After about half an hour the train pulled into station X. The smooching couple jumped with a start, swore so violently that even a chav would have covered his ears, grabbed their bags and stampeded down the aisle.
The girl next to me snickered. "They've not a chance in Hell," said the man opposite. I didn't say anything, I was too busy tapping away on my Blackberry trying to catch up on ol' blogroll. It's a tough life being a blogger.
As we watched them charge into the distance, galumphing down the aisle like a pair of crazy donkeys, the man tripped and went sprawling to the ground. We could see him on the floor, writhing and kicking, tangled in bags, struggling to get free and apparently still believing he could get up and run through eight more carriages.
Carriage twelve erupted in laughter. Full, raucous, hearty laughter. It was a precious, precious moment. I, of course, took no joy from his misfortune.
P.S. In my defence, and to preempt any accusations of misanthropy, I would have been the first to help him if he had been hurt!
P.P.S. Many thanks to Comedy Goddess and Sassy Britches who both gave me this award. I'm going to give it to two bloggers whom I have only recently discovered. To be fair, they discovered me.
1) Girl Interrupted, a brilliant writer who always makes me laugh. The first post I read of hers was "The True Version" of Snow White, a post so classy that I had to read it twice. Make sure you pay her a visit.
2) Harmony, another talented writer who has also done me the honour of slowly (well, quite quickly really) working through my back-catalogue. Her recent "had to be there" post is absolutely sublime.
A helping hand, ca. 1910s
3 hours ago