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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Reasons why Fran was glad to get off a train


Many of us look like this in bed (bless our cotton socks).



The mouth hanging open. The complete oblivion to the fact that the mouth is open. And, perhaps, the string of dribble ...

But, it's not exactly a PUBLIC face, is it?

Nevertheless, after two long train journeys in the last week I've realised that sleeping with one's mouth hanging open is only one of the things we're prepared to do on public transport that we probably wouldn't do elsewhere.

I always get on the train determined not to sleep, especially if I'm travelling alone. But after three hours on a hot train, eyes too tired to read, and hundreds of miles of the field-field-field-field-field-one-bored-sheep variety, my eyelids droop. Half an hour later, I'm jolted awake, hoping I didn't snore like a drain, have my mouth hanging open like a dead fish, or drool.

I also hope I haven't talked in my sleep about ginger biscuits, something I was once accused of doing when I stayed with a friend.

Here are some other things I did on trains this week which I rarely do elsewhere -

I invited anyone who fancied it to steal my luggage. I stashed my bag, containing a week's clothes and essentials, near a door where someone could take it and run if they so desired. Or, someone in a mad rush could grab it by mistake, thinking it theirs. I then left the bag and sat where I couldn't see it, the train being too busy to give me any other choice, and hoped it would still be there three hours later.

It was. Or maybe the thief checked the contents, decided he didn't need three pairs of Marks and Spencers big knickers and a selection of cardigans, and filched someone else's bag.

I sat so close to a strange man that our thighs touched. I was sitting in the window seat and he next to me in the aisle seat. He kept falling asleep and edging nearer but if I'd wedged myself any nearer the wall of the train, I'd have concertinaed all my inner organs.

I interlocked legs with another strange man. If I get someone opposite me at a table seat and they have short legs like mine, we can both cope, apart from the odd knee-touch and avoided eye contact. But his were like Californian Redwood tree trunks, so to sit opposite meant we had to organise our legs around each other's delicately, like one of those little wooden puzzles you get in a Christmas cracker. Then we had to stay as still as we could. Fortunately, a kind of rigormortis set in after an hour which made the job easier.

I went to the toilet very publicly. It was one of those toilets with the curved sliding doors. Immediately outside it were five people, sitting on the floor in the corridor because the train was crammed. I had to step over their legs before I could open the door and go in. I then pressed Close (slow .. slow .. slow closing so that I disappeared from view in stages). Then I pressed Lock three times just to make sure. Then I weed, knowing that five people were within touching distance, had there not been a thin toilet wall. Then I flushed the toilet, washed my hands, and dried them on the hand-dryer, fully aware that they could track my every movement move.

I then pressed the button for the door to open (slow ... slow ... slow opening so that I reappeared in stages). I stepped out into their assortment of legs, refused to meet any of their eyes, pretended I still had dignity, and picked my way back to the carriage.

I wasn't bold enough to re-emerge from the toilet, pause for effect, and say 'Thank you, thank you, everybody' like a performer arriving on the stage.


'I'll be back later for a repeat performance in an hour or so. No extra charge. Do feel free to applaud.'







18 comments:

  1. You mean you didn't even take a bow???

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    1. I like to think of myself as an extrovert, but really I'm just a scaredy-cat!

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  2. Oh God I've been on journeys like that where you tuck yourself in so small it hurts and try not to need a wee while dreading to fall asleep snore, sleep talk and drool !

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    1. And we PAY for this! The train companies should pay US!

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  3. I always think that those loo doors should open to a drum roll

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    1. ... as opposed to a toilet roll? ;)

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  4. Chuckled aloud at the interlocking legs bit. Have had my own awkward moments there!
    And at least there weren't people in the loo already because they couldn't fit anywhere else. I remember recoiling in horror when reading that bit in Wild Swans! :D

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    1. Arrgh - the stuff of nightmares! I read Wild Swans a long time ago and don't remember that bit. Maybe I subconsciously wiped it from my mind just in case it put me off train travel :)

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  5. I've never been on a train packed so full. The tram here is a different story. It starts out near empty and gets filled to squashed standing room only by the time it gets to the city. But it is only a twenty minute run, even allowing for station stops along the way, so there is no need for a toilet, thank goodness. If I get on early enough to find a seat I sometimes manage a bit of a doze along the way, if it's standing room only by the time I get on, I have to find a grab-hold very quickly, before the tram takes off again. Several times people, including me, have lost their balance as the tram takes off and been supported back to upright position by all those around us. I would never ever have my bag out of my sight. 100% sure I would never see it again.

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    1. Yes, I've seen that, too, on the London Tube network, people only staying upright because of those around them. It reminds me of when I have a vase of flowers in which one flower stem is broken so you prop it up with the others! And I've seen people sleeping while they stand on the tube. It's a skill you have to develop, I guess!

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  6. You're a funny lady, Fran!!

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    1. Thanks, fishducky! I was smiling much THAT day, though ...

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  7. I loved this! Exactly the same things I get embarrassed about on train journeys particularly the legs things. Classic. Chortled aloud 😂

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    1. Cheers, Debsy-babes. You have lovely long legs so I can imagine you getting into quite a scrape on trains!

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  8. The only train rides I've ever taken have been nothing like this, which makes me happy for myself but sad for you! Being squished together with strangers is not fun. But - blog post!! There's always an upside when you're a blogger :D

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    1. That is indeed the one and only upside of that kind of travel!!

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  9. My son's friend fell asleep on his train neighbour's ample bosom. She was very nice and let him sleep. When he woke up he was embarrassed - this changed to full on mortification when they both noticed at the same time that his drool had made a mark on her blouse. They both said nothing.

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    1. That reaches a new height in the definition of 'socially awkward moment'!!

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