Why I will now always prefer single seats on trains
And there's an hour and a quarter to go before we reach our destination, so he's going nowhere fast.
He's obviously finding my pudgy little upper arm extremely comfortable, snuggling in with his equally pudgy little head as though his head and my arm were made for each other, sisters and brothers, la la la.
These strategies to get him off my arm did not work:
- coughing and trying to pronounce it, 'I MIGHT have swine flu'
- turning the pages of my book in as dramatic and rustly a way as possible as though it were the Encyclopaedia Brittanica and not Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' (oh, the irony!!!)
- leaning over to the left myself until he was vertical, then pulling away quickly
- taking a mega-sigh which involved my whole body (and his)
- wriggling as far as I could towards the window without his head actually falling into my lap and causing a far more worrying situation
Is there an etiquette about these things? Is one free to tap him on the head and say, 'Look, pal, you either take your greasy nut off my nice clean arm or I'll shower it with my leftover crisps?' or can one decently hold a pair of nail scissors to his throat or can one shout, 'There is a MAN on my ARM' without causing confusion that you'd shouted 'There is an MAN! He is ARMED!' and starting a national emergency?
Perhaps you think I'm uncaring. Perhaps I should've woken him gently and said, 'Hey, old chap. You seem a little uncomfortable there. Why don't I just stand in the aisle for the next hour so you can lie horizontal? And would you like a bedtime story? A lullaby? Here, let me take off your shoes for you .. No, no, it's no trouble.'
In what other situation in life would someone feel free to fall asleep on a complete stranger's shoulder? At the bus stop? In the library? At the movies? By clambering into someone's car at the drive-in McDonald's and saying, 'You don't mind if I take forty winks on your nice padded arm, now, do you? I've had SUCH a day.'?
When we got to London, and he'd had a lovely nap, and I'd read a lot less of my book than I would have done, and been a lot less relaxed than I would have been, and had a dimple in my upper arm I wouldn't have had, he woke at the very last minute, stretched his arms into the air, and yawned luxuriously. I know I should have said, 'Good morning, honeybun. Sleep well?' but I didn't.
I think he had no idea at all what he'd been doing. So that would have taken a LOT of explaining.