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
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.'|