Thursday, 21 May 2009

Asswipes, Smartasses, Blood and Buffaloes

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.

"It's stained."

"Pardon?"

"IT'S STAINED!"

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.

47 comments:

The Jules said...

lol - I would've thought a glossy mag would be better arse-protection personally, alhtough it would have to be a choice between New Scientist and Enormous LadyLumps Monthly.

Actually, I could easily get hold of another New Scientist.

Hey Mo - Ive mentioned you in this award thing, so now you're utterly, UTTERLY obliged to reciprocate:

http://gravelfarm.blogspot.com/2009/05/favourite-blogs.html

Mwahaha!

Samsmama said...

So many animal references, I think this could go in National Geographic!

Excellent story!

andy said...

it's times like those i would be forced to plug my ipod into my brain bag and sing ever so loudly along to ABBA.

andy

Captain Dumbass said...

I can't WAIT to find a new job in the fall and start commuting again. I need to start collecting packets of ketchup now.

Audra said...

I wonder if the dude put ketchup on the seat so he wouldn't have to have a seat mate...its what I would have done lol

Harmony said...

Love the smartass...it's what I would've done, had I a paper.

BeautifulWreck said...

LOL.. love it! Great post!

Courtney said...

These commuter trains are a real live dream for a people watcher....I need to start taking the bus to work!

ps: 97% chance that gentleman stained the seat himself

pps: I was just kidding when I said I should take the bus to work...

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

THAT'S why we used to carry newspapers around!

Now I just read the news off my phone.

I think the man in the seat was a remarkably strange and lonely man. He made the mess so he would have an excuse for interaction and social discourse with other people.

I'm pretty sure Nathaniel West wrote about him.

Mr. Condescending said...

Loved the story mo !

Those trains sound like a lot of fun. I bet its a real laugh when someone tries to get on with a wheelchair!

Kristine said...

You make commuting sound like fun!

Eric said...

Great story pardner, and a Clint Eastwood reference too, bonus!

Diane said...

I have a friend who lives in Hove. And he's rather buffalo-like. But he totally would have sat in that seat, so I know he wasn't one of your buffaloes.

Anna Russell said...

Why did nobody else think of the paper thing?! A smart ass is a clean ass.
Or words to that effect.

Call Me Cate said...

I wondered how long before someone got desperate enough to sit on a paper or something. Or, better yet, I wondered if they'd just take the aisle seat when that guy stood to show them the mess. That probably would've been considered rude but buffaloes aren't known for their manners.

Nikki said...

I want to bite on jelly packets now... Now I know what you sound like I'm going to come kidnap you and make you ride American transit with me! Mwahahaha.

I also think ur stories are funny but right now the jelly biting is sooo much better. LoL. I missed you Mo!

Tooj said...

I was wondering why no one just sat on some newspaper. Sheesh! The laziness to NOT put a piece of paper down!

Kat said...

Oh the joys of the commuter train...will they ever cease? I think not.

jpooh said...

I was wondering how long it would take someone to put something down on the stain and sit there.

I like the Smartass buffalo. Probably because I'm one.

Maria Roth said...

I was actually thinking that I would put down a newspaper or clean off the seat myself before sitting down. What's a little ketchup? As a mom, I always carry Wet Wipes and Kleenex with me. I may even have some upholstery cleaner in my purse...

Stacie's Madness said...

roflmao...
I love how you write, thank you!

Peggy said...

Darn...I'm too late. I would've also assumed that the "gentleman" stained the seat himself in order to gain a bit of elbow room...genius!

How is your backward facing commuter doing these days?

Char said...

Public transportation...you gotta love it, and apparently be a smartass buffalo to survive it.

jessica o said...

I used to commute with buffalo. Two hours each way. There was a new story EVERYDAY. Which is weird because you'd think it would be the same old, same old.

Mo, I loved the imagery. Great post.

Nej said...

Are you sure you didn't put the mess there yourself...for the enjoyment of watching the buffaloes??

diane said...

I love this story. Did a used packet of ketchup fall out of his pocket when he got off of the train?

cactus petunia said...

A public service reminder that the commuter train is not a petting zoo?

Maybe the stain on the seat was the remains of the last poor soul who tried to feed the buffalo...

It's a jungle out there, Mo!

Snarky A. said...

Ha ha, I love a smart ass!

blognut said...

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to simply cover up the problem.

It doesn't usually take that long.

Comedy Goddess said...

Everyone likes a little ass, no one likes a smartass.

Girl Interrupted said...

Ah, the Great Western Wildebeest ... they never change (unfortunately)

Your blog always makes me so glad that I don't commute anymore :P

Nikki-ann said...

So, to finalise, only 1 in 4 people from Hove are intelligent? :D

C.B. Jones said...

Who's neck did that guy slit to create that "stain"?

Better question: did the grin indicate that you were an accomplice? I won't snitch if you were to fess up to it.

LiLu said...

I can't believe it took FOUR to figure that out.

Cora said...

That's what I would've done. Sacrificed the paper.

Hit 40 said...

Hooray for the prepared commuter with the newspaper!!! It pays to read the news. Several papers have gone out of business in the states from lack of readership.

Courtney may have been right about the ketchup. I put stuff in front of me in movie theaters to have an unobstructed view. Plus, I take a cell phone jammer.

Mr London Street said...

Hove to Brighton is hardly long enough to justify sitting down anyway.

Me, Amplified said...

i'm curious, would he take the paper with him when he got off? or did he leave it there. i think it would have been a bit of a shock for the next person to lift the newspaper to find THAT! lol.

g said...

I'm surprised the first three buffalo didn't put something on the seat.

Not very brave buffalo, were they?

Just think of what it would have been like if it were Rooster Sauce?

Mo, if you want some Rooster Sauce, just email me! Maybe I can send some to the UK with a friend who is returning there from NYC.

Kylie w Warszawie said...

Yeah, I'm like you. I would find it completely maddening to have to explain to people.

I probably would have decided to stand.

Beth said...

I was once on a train when a dude had a party in his pants. Apparently he had so much fun he had to leave behind some of the goods.

I always wondered how long it would take before someone would A) sit in it or B) clean it up.

This story makes me feel more complete now. Thanks.

♥ Braja said...

Smartass, or clean ass? I was thinking I'd throw a paper on it right in the beginning. You probably woulda called me a smartass. Then we woulda had a full-on fight on the train....verbally damaging blows pre-office arrival. It would have been a draw: I'd have said, "Hey, why don't I buy you a coffee?" as we arrived at the station and wandered past Starbucks. So I did. The train passengers sighed with relief, smiled in disbelief at two arguing and yelling passengers befriending each other over a Starbies. And all was well...

Until, when you had finally wandered off and I'd been lost in the crowd, you discovered I'd lifted your wallet from your pocket.

Moral: Watch out, train man...watch out...

:)

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

HAH! He's brilliant.

Amy said...

Your commute is more exciting than my whole day.

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I wondered why someone didn't do that on the first go-around. :) Only because I am a smartass, too.

Sassy Britches said...

Classic. I love how your seatmate was enjoying the whole mess too; you have to laugh at that stuff!

The Rambler said...

God I heart your train stories!

As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!