The man opposite me was sitting in the aisle seat. The window seat next to him was vacant. He must have a good reason, I thought. You need a good reason to place yourself between the aisle and the other seat like that, especially on a commuter train. You'll have to get up to let someone in, then you'll have to get up to let them out. All this is a real pain in the backside, especially if it happens multiple times.
The train pulled into Hove, which is the most irritating stop on the line. The train is nearly full by the time it reaches Hove, and Hove is where a million people try and get on. They wait in impatient clusters on the platform. When the doors open they stampede on like a herd of crazy buffalo and fight for the remaining seats. Animals. If I get on a crowded train with hardly any free seats I always let the ladies take the seats. Proof that I'm a gentleman right? At Hove there is no such behaviour. I've seen total jerks barge ladies out of the way in order to nab a seat. Asswipes.
A desultory herd of buffalo charged down the aisle.
"Please may I sit there?" a female buffalo asked the gentleman opposite me, pointing at the vacant seat by the window.
"There's a stain," he explained, pointing at the seat. I knew there had to be a reason. I leaned over and sure enough there was a stain. It wasn't so much a stain, more of a bloody mess. I doubt it was blood, more likely it was ketchup, but it was red, wet and sticky, revolting, it looked like some gimp-grandchild had bitten into a hot dog and sprayed ketchup all over the seat.
"God Almighty!" she exclaimed, stiffened for a moment like a wildebeest surprised by a crocodile and then rushed towards another seat.
"Can I sit there?" asked a male buffalo.
"Sure," said the gentleman, "but it is stained." The buffalo insisted that he wanted the seat so the gentleman opposite me stood up and let him through. The buffalo almost sat down, saw the mess and then scampered off. The gentleman sat back down. The whole scene became even more comical.
Another buffalo asked if he could sit in the spare seat. Once again the gentleman said it was stained.
"Sorry?" asked the buffalo, leaning forward and cupping his ear.
The buffalo inspected the seat, shook his head wearily and went and stood in the vestibule area, sulking in a pit of melodramatic despair. These buffaloes are depressive beasts. The gentleman opposite me grinned. If it was me I would have imploded. Getting up, sitting down, getting up, sitting down, repeatedly have to explain that the seat was a mess. He was taking all this remarkably well.
As ol' Clint once so wisely observed, there are two kinds of people in this world. I'd like to add to that. Some people use their initiative but the majority throw in the towel at the first opportunity. The forth buffalo used his initiative. He asked for the seat, chucked his paper down on it and sat on the paper. Smartass.