Last night on the train on the way home, as I settled down with book in hand, a couple sat down across from me. They were a similar age to me, reasonably well presented, and engaged in quiet whispers. At first I took them for a new couple, still at that stage of exploration where nothing beyond the other exists, but it turns out they were just a little tipsy, drunk enough to yield similar results but with the advantage of familiarity.
I was sitting at the window seat, directly opposite the lady of this couple and already I could tell that the ‘gentleman’, sitting diagonally across from me, was anything but. Something about the way he dominated the space between them, the aggressive stance, and clenched fists providing further clues. Snippets of their conversation came and went.
“If yer bruther touches you ai’d smash ‘im”
“No ye wudnae”
“Aye I wud. Fuckin kill ‘im”
And so on.
I had just extracted my headphones from my pocket when he slowly placed his feet on the seat next to me, languorously crossing them back and forth until he was comfortable. I glanced down at his feet, then looked up at him.
Now, I should explain that there is one thing, a pet peeve if you will, that is guaranteed to get my blood boil. It manifests itself in many ways but they all amount to the same thing. A lack of consideration. And here was this drunken oaf, quite happily shuffling his feet about on the seat cushion next to me.
So, with my incredulous rage building, the following thoughts all zip through my brain in a few nano-seconds:
- Behind him I see the, female, ticket inspector approaching.
- Given his aggressive stance and general demeanour I also sized him up, he was definitely in better shape than me if a little shorter
- He’s fairly drunk, and I’m stone cold sober.
- I realised I was sitting in a corner and would have to get past him to get out.
- In the seats opposite me are two teenage girls pouring over glossy magazines, and a young executive type woman reading a book with a pink cover
- We’re only 2 minutes into a journey that takes 27.
What do you think happened next?