Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Fat Yellow Line

It’s been a while since I blogged about my train pain.  I’m  not sure if I’ve became more tolerant or if I've simply resigned myself to the fact I’ll be surrounded by annoying bastards 5 days a week in a packed metal sausage.  My commute is a lot different, it’s about half the time but I have to deal with double the amount of bastards.  Monday to Friday I shoehorn myself into the Overground at my local station, I’m screamed at by a station guard to make sure I stand behind the yellow line.  I’m not exaggerating when I say “screamed” Seriously, the last time I was shouted at like that I was 17 and spewing up and dribbling my knickers in my mums car after drinking too much Smirnoff Ice.  I feel like getting up in his grill and saying “Why don’t YOU stand behind the yellow line?” 

But there were simpler times.  Times when I could get a seat on the train in the morning, when I could expand my lungs freely without an elbow or Longchamp handbag crushing my ribs or a Metro being shoved up my nostril.  Yes, there were annoying people, you've all heard of Fruit Pastille Guy and Meatloaf to name a few. I looked back at them with fondness now.  Yesterday whilst on the Overground, being practically impregnated by a man standing a little too closely, I counted him sniffing 118 times over the course of a three stop journey.  Of course I was very British and tutted.  A little louder each time, then came the blatant staring out, then the dropping of shoulders and arching of eyebrows “seriously dude?”  I was far too polite to say anything of course.  That would be rude of me.

My train pain has come back to haunt me though, my train pain from my simpler times has bitten me on my ample arse and taken a chunk of my soul and dignity (not that there was much left) Several years ago whilst having the pleasure of riding the London Midland train from home to work, I made the mistake of being sick.  Not sick on the train, although I’m sure the germs would have gone unnoticed.  Sick from work.  Sick with flu, delirious and miserable. 

Having spent a few days off work, I decided I was only moderately sick and therefore able to return to work.  Hopping on my usual 8.24 without a thought, I managed to find a seat and parked myself for a 20 minute journey to the office.  I drifted off and very quickly arrived at the station where I inserted my rather archaic paper ticket into the machine and proceeded to walk into a firmly closed barrier.  My ticket was spat back out at me with disgust.  I of course tried again and screwed up my face (explains the wrinkles) I looked around to catch the attention of an inspector to help battle technology and vacate the station.  A rather jolly looking man came to my aid and quickly explained that my ticket had expired the day before.  Realisation dawned and it hit me that I’d forgotten to renew it, what with dying of fucking flu and all that.

I explained to the man that I’d renew it straight away.  I fumbled around for a bank card to pay and to my horror realised I’d forgotten it.  My horror lead to sheer panic when I realised I’d be unable to afford my daily Pret/Marks & Spencer visit and I simply couldn’t do without my cheese sub & crisp combo.  Yes, crisps on the sub.  Orgasmic.  Anyway, I explained that I’d renew my ticket starting from today, tomorrow morning instead.  In return for my willingness to pay, I was rewarded with a penalty notice from the ever so helpful London Midland chap.  Now you all know how I feel about LM.  I simply cannot muster enough expletives.  All I can do is hiss like an angry panther, making sure to expel as much spit as possible.  Fun fact, you can spell the word DILDO from London Midland.  I grabbed the ticket from his hand and in a calm but terrifying Scottish accent told him “see you, you can shove yer penalty up yer arse” and Malcolm Tucker promptly left the building.

I of course wrote off and followed the appeal procedure and quickly forgot about it, moving home several weeks later and never hearing anything back.  That was until this morning when I was awoken at 6.30am by a delightful man dressed in black holding a letter from the court citing me as a criminal for “riding the railways illegally” I laughed it off and proceeded to shut the door on him.  I had just woken up, my mouth was as dry and as crusty as a nun’s chuff and I barely had any clothes on. I think Right Said Fred may have escaped my dressing gown. 

Upon trying to close the door, this delightful young man slammed the door back into me, smashing it into my knee and knocking me back, and of course sending my dressing gown flying open.  Right Said Fred’s cousin also made an appearance (having just had a haircut) A scuffle ensued and there was some screams (from me) as I panicked at exactly who this man was.  He then showed me some ID and said he was here to collect my fine for being a railway criminal.  I always knew I’d be destined to be compared to Bonnie & Clyde, but I imagined it would be for something more glamorous like tax evasion in the Maldives or running from the Italian Mafia for being a snitch.

My fine was a snip at £662, an absolute steal for the privilege of being able to travel with London Midland.  Of course I coughed up straight away as I always had great customer service on their trains; it was the least I could do for being sick that fateful day.  That is of course a complete fabrication and I argued and huffed and puffed my way through it, my knee throbbing in pain the whole time from where he had knocked me back.  It seemed to be perfectly acceptable to have sent correspondence to an old address, sentence me and deem me guilty without being able to appropriate a defence or proper appeal.  The police were called as I refused to believe this was legitimate, I refused to believe London Midland thought that even their rolling stock was worth the £662 they were now demanding from me through this moron with his foot in my front door.

Eventually the Boys in Blue arrived and took charge of the situation; they looked at him with disdain which made me warm to them.  I offered them all cups of tea and a seat on my sofa which seemed to be destined for the back of a transit van.  The moron was told he was getting “fuck all”  He started to list goods in my property that he could remove to refund LM, which happened to include a photograph of a model that I’d shot years ago on a beach.  He picked it up and I sneered, “yeah, you like that one do you? She’s 14 there you sicko…” Photographs were taken off the wall, the TV was unplugged and mementos and knick knacks seemed doomed.  I even worried for my cats and tried to usher them out the door mentally screaming “RUN! Save yourselves! I’m no good for you!”  The last straw was when he tried to take my beautiful bike.  Beautiful Bobbin who has been my saviour and my salvation so many times over the last 6 months.  I decided to get a bike to ease my Train Pain when it all got too much.  Hurrah, I lived close enough to be able to cycle to work.  The only arseholes causing me pain would be my own as I trundled the 7 miles to the office.  At least I’d get a seat every day and there was only a very slight chance I’d die on the way there.

After much tears, much use of the C word I had no choice but to pay the fine in full.  The alternative was being arrested.  I admit, I toyed with it for a few moments.  Hey this could be fun.  I’d just shaved, I was feeling silky smooth and I had no pants on.  You get guaranteed sex in prison right? 

When he finally left in his van, which by the way he had used to block the whole street to the amusement of my neighbours I called the court and called them a shower of cunts.  Yes, I actually called the woman at the court a cunt.  It’s probably on tape and I’m expecting a fine for being abusive to a government employee but it was worth whatever they fine me.

London Midland, you are a bunch of cunts.  Your enforcement agency sent a bully to my home who physically injured me.  As long as I live I shall never travel on another London Midland train again (unless I’m horribly drunk and in that case I hope I shit, piss and spew everywhere) Thanks to you I’ll have to forgo my daily Pret fix, thanks to you I probably wont be able to afford a bottle of wine this weekend, or a Summer holiday or more wax for Right Said Fred’s little cousin.  Thanks to you, this weekend I’ll be sober with a pale hairy fanny.

Pleasure to travel with you, come again.

A. Passenger.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ode to Bacon

So, I haven't blogged in SUCH a long time and trust me, I've plenty to moan about! I've willingly increased my commute to work by moving 70 miles to the wilds of south London.  So now instead of a simple train, I have a bus, a tube, switch tube and then a train. I know, why would I do this to myself?  Well quite frankly, I'm mental. 

My tolerance levels were already below zero so just how am I coping? Well I'm listening to a LOT of good music which is somehow keeping me sane.  I panic when I'm not plugged in.  It's a sort of life support, or drip if you will. The dulcet tones of Laura Marling, Robert Plant and Alt J are stopping me from beating someone to death with my Oyster card.  I reckon I could if I really tried you know.

So today isn't really an angry blog per Se  I'm surprisingly calm and I even have a train chomper right next to me. Now everyone knows I have no patience for train chompers, like none.  I had the same conversation with a guy at work who agrees that crisps should be banned on trains. Hear, hear! I'd happily fuck someone up who was devouring a packet of wotsits.  Especially the bastards who lick their fingers after.

So the chomper I have next to me is a moderately attractive suit.  He pulls a paper bag out from his man bag.  
Yes, man bags are socially acceptable.  I can see a window of grease soaking through the paper and my stomach turns and growls at the same time.  I haven't eaten yet as I find my ridiculous and frantic morning routine of trying to apply a precision red lip far too stressful.  That and trying to tease hair in various locations on my body to avoid being mistaken for a teen wolf fancy dress entrant.

I watch with rapture as the suit slowly, ever so slowly, peels back the paper to reveal a ginormous bap.  There's meat on it, I can smell it.  This is unfamiliar to me as a vegetarian.  I can already hear people tutting and asking "why?" I'm a vegetarian, it's okay.  I still have two arms and two legs, I still have a heartbeat and manage to function and I get PLENTY protein.  I was once told that eating vegetarian haggis was like eating fruit bacon. That did actually make me laugh and was a usual change from "I just don't get it"

Anyway, I digress.  The paper on the bag has been peeled back, revealing the large floury bap. I can see its soaked with grease around the edge and I lick my lip. Please don't let it be sausage.  There's only one kind of sausage I like and it ain't Walls.  It's bacon. Holy mother fucker, it's bacon.

I smell it now.  I can practically taste it and my mouth quivers as I suck back in a bit of drool.  Greasy, crispy, juicy bacony goodness.  It wafts up my nose, swirls around inside and blood rushes to my face like it does when I'm embarrassed or fancy someone.  Holy shit, I've got a bacon lard-on.  Dear me, I'm damp.

I don't eat meat, except man meat, but god damn it I miss bacon.  It's the only thing that could turn me back to eating animal corpses.  He's definitely eating it in slow motion to turn me on. Can he smell my pheromones or something? Do I smell like I want to reproduce because porn is happening right here on the 08:49 from Euston.  I slink down into my seat to try and hide my flushed face, and I bite my lip as I've come over all Ms Steele.  Yes I've read fifty shades, on the train. Perhaps that why I haven't blogged in a while.  I almost say "hey mr piggy man, fancy some eggs to go with that bacon?"

Each lift to and from his mouth is heaven and hell.  The bap drips hot butter and I flinch as I watch it splash up in slow motion.  I'm holding my breath and will him to lose a bit of bacon so I can swipe it, no such luck.  Bacon is pure sex.  I think I'm coming out in rashers.

He polishes off the roll and my shoulders drop in dismay.  I'm disappointed.  I feel like we shared a moment.  I would have married this man for a bite of his pork.  I feel rejected, he didn't even offer me a lick of his fingers after or a sniff of the wrapper.

It's my stop next, I want to hang around to inhale his beard and inspect for remnants. I have to ask him to move so I can get out and I come over all ham fisted trying to lift my bag and newspaper.

I make a mental note to go out and buy some veggie percy pigs and evaluate life as a vegetarian.  Alas Mr Piggy man, until the next time.

I could do with a good porking.

A. Passenger

Monday, 18 March 2013

Super Geek

Well hello there! It's been a while Train Pain-ers! So what's happened in 8 months? Well after much kicking and screaming, I finally got myself an iphone! i know I know, I feel I have let the Crackberries down. It has made for some fairly hilarious auto corrects though. Diet Come, instead of Diet Coke was heart achingly funny, you know who you are.

I'm starting to hate people again though. I mean specifically train people. I mean, I do generally hate people, but commuters have to be the most annoying individuals on earth.

Not even the metro or stylist magazine is soothing what ails me at the moment. I hear peoples noise above my iPod and stare em out for breathing too noisily. This morning I left the house in a rage, so this isn't helping my intolerance levels one bit.

I arrive at the station in record time this morning having stormed my way there in under 6 minutes. I slip on some ice and nearly end up flat on my back. I do some sort of zebedee impression before I hit the ground and I'm saved. Unfortunately the bus driver at the terminus thinks this is hilarious. How about I get on and pay the fare in 1 pence pieces, is this change exact enough for you, cunt?

I get to the station and head for the platform, inside reeks of commuter in a sea of grey, black and blue and I feel claustrophobic and I'd rather wait on the freezing deserted platform. There is one bench and I head over to sit down. I have a heavy bag full of my gym kit for this evening. It's just as well really, I think my rapid storming this morning was in danger of staring a bush fire between my legs. There is a man sitting on the bench already. Right in the middle. On one side he has his cup of coffee and on the other side his bag. Clearly no where for me to sit. I hover around for a few minutes, I begin to tut loudly as if he should know I want to sit down. He's not taking the hint. How dare he not realize I need to sit down? I move away a little bit and he looks up and shifts uncomfortably, looks at me then moves his bag as if to invite me to sit next to him. Without thinking my mouth curls and nose twitches as if I've just got a whiff of shite. I'm a friendly kinda gal but I draw the line at getting commuter on me. Hes even tapping away on a laptop. Yuck. I begin to wonder if he is a commuter after all, he has jeans and a high vis vest on. Maybe he's a train spotter? Maybe he's recording the trains that come in on his computer, like a sort of super spotter. Gone are the days of anoraks and a pen and pad. On second thoughts maybe ill sit down, I'm a sucker for a geek and I really need my laptop fixed.

I resist and move away towards the other end of the platform and try to figure out where I can stand so the train doors will stop exactly where I am. The train is due in less than a minute and I eagerly await its arrival. My trains have been relatively reliable recently, dare I speak too soon?

My train pulls up and all of a sudden in set upon by about 30 suits crowding round me. I've managed to pick the right place to stand so the doors open exactly where I am. People push by me to try and get on the train first. Now surely as I've been here standing in cold, waiting and marking where the doors open, I'm entitled to get on first no? This angers me, people are just so fucking rude! I refuse to be bullied, I may only be 5,4 but I have quite an intimidating stare and I'm not afraid to use it. I stand my ground and refuse to be pushed, I let the other people off the train and push my way on past the impatient fuckers and bag myself the best seat.

I sink into the itchy jaggy seat material and I realize my shoulders have been hunched up and my jaw clenched. I take a breath and begin to relax.

The next stop is only a few minutes away and there is an influx of people. I close my eyes and try to soothe myself with a bit of heavy metal on the iPod. That's until I smell it. No, surely not. The unmistakable smell of hot egg fills the carriage and I retch. I can feel it swirling around in my nostrils. I daren't open my mouth. I can practically see the stench violently working its way down the carriage to assault the noses of my fellow commuters.

Seriously, who eats a hot egg baguette on the train at 8am? Well we all know the answer to that, a bastard. That's who.

A. Passenger

Friday, 26 October 2012

Sordids Law

Sods law.  Don't you just fucking HATE it?  You all know the crappy age old adage,  if you drop toast,  it lands butter side down, thats Sods law.  I actually think it would be rather disgusting to eat toast that landed on the floor any side up but hey, I guess I'm just hygenic.  I'm talking about sods law that just makes your stomach sink to the floor like your trying to digest a paving slab.

So,  it's 4pm on a Friday.  The last Friday of the month we call pizza friday in our workplace.  This is where my employer decides that its okay for us to have a social life, and that we are free to leave the office a whole 2 hours earlier than usual.  That's after they have stuffed us full of pizza.  Basically hoardes of us make vows not to eat any of the said pizza for fear of our figures.  But by the time the smell of 20 large pizzas wafts down from the 4th floor, promises are forgotten and mini skirts are a tad tighter that evening.  And that's just the boys.

So anyway, its 4pm, I have managed to avoid the pizza.  Purely because I've had nandos for lunch.  I had a veggie burger but I stink of chicken.  I have a feeling no, leg enhancing mini skirt could pull a bloke this evening.  I've left the office and I'm desperate to get home.  I haven't felt very well this weekend and have had 2 days out recovering.  I dash to the train station.  Its freezing cold, I mean Scotland cold.  I can say that, I'm Scottish.  The wind is bitter as hell and it feels like a thousand tiny knives slashing my face.  My cheeks are stinging and no matter how fast I walk, the station doesn't seem to get any closer. 

I'm laden with bags as I decided to clear out the wardobe I seem to have built up under my desk.  2 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses, 3 cardigans, a pair of tights, 2 cake boxes and 3 belts.  I work in fashion apparently so I don't feel so bad.  I eventually arrive at the station and I suddenly feel wary.  There are too many people.  Far too many people.  What's going down?  I look at the board and I cannot see my train anywhere.  I see the London Midland trains in the opposite direction.  But none my way.  Eventually I spot it, but my stop seems to be missing from the calling points.  Hmmm, strange.  On every train in my direction, my station is missed out. 

I look around the waiting area inside.  Its warm, cosy, sheltered.  But full of fucking idiots.  Harry Potter fans with armfuls of souviner shop bags are everywhere.  This is a peados paradise.  I opt to wait outside favouring the bitter cold and numb face to a bunch of prepubescent children and grown men and women obsessed with Harry, Ron and Hermione.  Guys, you do know Hermione is actually legal now, the fantasy is dead so give it up.

I've been waiting 40 minutes for an update.  The platform announcer is getting on my TITS.  He LOVES the sound of his own voice.  I've heard him before, and remembered he loves to speak.  The first time I heard him, it was funny.  Now your just being a cock mate.  My train is stuck at Euston.  No real reason is given but the announcer.  It's "just stuck"  Oh well that's okay then,  jesus I thought it would be something really vague like "held up".  I'm becoming increasingly anxious.  4pm is long gone along with my hopes of being home warm and cosy in time for countdown.  The platform is starting to fill over with idiots and I feel unclean.  There is a boy sitting next to me, sniffing.  Constantly.  Now I have been unwell for a few days, I have a runny nose, but have the good sense and manners to carry a tissue in my pocket to stop such leakages.

I feel like slapping him.  I'm just about to reach breaking point when another sniffer sits down on the other side of me.  I say sniffer, more grunter.  Every few seconds a deep sniff that evolves into a grunt that comes from the back of his nose.  I'm worried he may inhale his own face.  I check his hindquarters for evidence of a curly tail.  There is none.  I'm incredulous that people are oblivious to those around them.  I tut loudly, that ought to do it.  SNIFF! Nope, its not working.  I sigh loudly and say, "fuck sake" perhaps a little too loudly and the grunter snaps his neck up and stares at me.  I stare straight back.  He holds my glare, neither of us giving up.  I can do this all night piggy, I've got no market to get to.  Now fuck off wee wee wee all the way  home.

After what seems like an eternity, a train pulls into the platform.  It misses my stop out completley, but I am not waiting around this farmyard.  I hop on it and tell myself I'll get home somehow, someone will collect me and deliver me to my house.

The train is packed.  I see no where to sit, there's barely enough room to stand.  I spot a small space near the door, I squeeze myself in.  There would be a whole lot more space if the selfish bitch next to me hadn't decided to sit on the floor with her legs out next to her massive bag.  My feet can't move and I'm stuck.  I feel like a weeble.  My feet are so tightly pressed together I'm liable to tipping at any point.  I glare at her spread out like she's on a fucking sunlounger.  Its the London Midland love, not the Orient Express!

I hear the automated voice announce a familiar stop, it's near mine.  I'll get off here.  Thank god, what a relief.  A lady that's been fighting for balance next to me, leans over and says, "you get off at my stop usually don't you, can my husband drop you off at home?". How incredibly sweet.  My faith in humans is restored.  I thank her profusely but, It's fine,  I've summoned my driver.  I'm genuinely touched.  Then I start to wonder if perhaps she's spotted me and engineered this situation to entice me back with her husband to partake in some sordid friday night action.  I regard her with a raised eyebrow.  She definitely looks like the keys in the bowl type.  I bet her husbands fit and wears a suit.

On second thoughts babe, I don't need that lift, I've managed to make my own way home. ;)  Sordids Law right there.

A. Passenger

Monday, 24 September 2012

Life's a Breeze

On my train journeys, it seems that everything will go quiet for a few weeks.... then all of a sudden everything happens within a few days.

Last week I was on the tube with a mobile salad bar (I'll explain another time) Today I got on the train to go home and was glad to see it was very quiet.  I sat in the back of the carriage where there are less seats and less riff-raff.  I was sitting in a seat without a table looking through a set of 6 seats facing in both directions.  There was what appeared to be your usual respectable looking business man sitting facing me.  I could spy on him quite easily through the gap in the seats.  He was quite happily reading the paper.  I was bored because there were no leftover Metro's, no stylists... nothing.  My iPod was flat so I had no music to listen to, epic fail.

I'm sitting quite happily when I hear this cracking noise.  I'm not sure what it is so I look around like a meerkat to see where said cracking noise is from.  There it is again!  I look between the seats and see my respectable businessman is eating some form of hard boiled sweet.  It's bloody loud!  I'm not convinced the cracking noise is him or if a brick has been lobbed through a window.  I scour the floor and seats for remants of glass but see none.  I see RBM pop a sweet into his mouth and crunch.  I say sweet, it could easily be a breeze block judging by the sound.

I'm in shock at how loud it is and try to film by stealth.  It's quite hard and a bit unnerving as he's looking straight through the gap.  He's quite engrossed in his Evening Standard though so I should be okay.  I really tried to capture the loud crunchy bits, but trains aren't very good for capturing train chompers.  It sounds awful, I can feel my teeth practically crumble in my mouth.  It sounds like he's crunching his own teeth.


He crunches away and then takes a swig out of a can of fizzy.  Hang on, thats not fizzy pop, is that... is that Stella?  The mans a hero.  Suited up and swigging from a can of Stella.  I mean he's 50 odd, not some weedy little city boy, a proper actual man.  RBM has just went up in my estimations.  He drinks quite greedily and I really tried to get a picture of him swigging but he kept hiding his gulps behind his Evening Standard.  I get the feeling he's trying to drink as much before his stop as possible.  I bet his wifes a right bitch.  Poor man can't go home and have a casual drink, he has to drink by stealth on the train.  He finishes his can and places it on the floor.  I think he must have just needed a quick refreshment, but oh no.. he opens his bag and I see a 6 pack poking out.  Seriously, I want this guy to be my friend.  Yes, he's crunching extremely loudly BUT he does chew with his mouth closed.  He does have a well ironed suit on and he does appear to be rather groomed. 

I bet he's a hoot in meetings.  He looks like he holds a position of importance at some international corporation.  I can imagine him chairing important board meetings that start off well and then end up on a slippery slope towards innuendos and riotous behaviour.  I can imagine he's the type of boss you could ask for a raise everyday and he'd forget he had given you one the day before.  I have visions of some little secretary trying to hide bottles of whiskey and cigars when the big bosses come round.  I imagine she has to endure little slaps to the behind as well.  I dreamily start to picture what kind of boss he would be and contemplate asking him for an application form for wherever he works.  There is the other side that he may have been sacked for drinking and leaves the house every morning bound for work as he's too scared to tell his slut of a wife and he drinks on train home in place of pints with the lads after a hard day ruling the world.  I would tell her, she's probably fucking the neighbour anyway.

I must be staring and he's sensed it as he glances up and catches my eye.  I hold it for a fraction longer than needed and he breaks out into a grin.  It must be the Stella, or maybe I'm looking particularly fine this evening.  I did make a special effort this morning and managed to find knickers with working elastic so maybe he knows.  I look away and smile to myself.  I look up again just as he's taking another swig from his can and he motions the can towards me as if to offer me a sip.  Now I'm not quite sure if I should be flattered that he wants to share with me, or offended because I look like the type who would guzzle beer from a can on the commute home.

I think I quite fancy this guy, I might want to be his friend.  I feel the overwhelming urge to take him away from his bitch of a wife.  The next stop is announced and I pray it's not his.  It is.  I'm devastated.  I try to look as attractive as I can and make my eyes as sultry and as welcoming as possible as he jumps up to get his coat from the overhead rack.  He looks at me and he regards me with a wary look.  My sultry half shut eyes hasn't gone down well and I might look like I've finished the rest of his six pack off.

The train pulls to a stop and my RBM bounds merrily off the train with sleepy eyes and I feel a pang of loss for what might have been.  I make a mental note to get on the train at this time tomorrow and look out for him.  I make a promise to myself to casually buy a case of stella and carry it to the station and sit it innocently beside me on a seat of its own, corner poking out. 

This time tomorrow I'll be getting merry on the commute with my very own respectable businessman, living the high life, munching bite sized breeze blocks, sipping Belgiums finest.

If I end up in Manchester, someone tell my other half - send money.  For Stella.

A. Passenger.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Rockafeller Skunk

Hi lovely eight twenty four-ers!  Its been a few weeks, I've now fully recovered from my Italian transport adventures and back in the gloomy UK!  I'm missing the intense heat of Italy a little bit.  Waiting at the station this morning I was freezing and wished I'd worn long johns under my tights!  I'm shivering, I think its because I'm practically Italian now.

This mornings journey was very uneventful, so much so that I fell asleep with my face squashed up against the window.  I'm ashamed to admit that I drooled also.  I'm pretty sure that people waiting to get on the train as it pulled into other stations declined to board, assuming it to be some form of special train for adult learners.

So, I arrive at my stop, my bright red squashed face sporting a little dried in dribble and start the walk to work.  Nine hours later and I'm back at the platform for the journey home, I'm depressed.  Its getting dark and the dark, quite frankly bores me.  Its dull, (obviously) weirdos come out, everything looks so flat and 2 dimensional and I instinctively think its time for bed at 5pm.  I love going to bed when its light.  There's something about climbing into bed at 10pm and the the last remnants of sun pour in the window.  Now, my mother will attest to the fact that when I was little I'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming to my bed when it was light.  There was just too much nonsense to be getting up to, and I was at the age where the cover of darkness was boring.

So, anyway, I digress.  My train pulls into the platform and I wait for everyone to get off before getting on.  I can't be bothered to stagger down the carriage and sit in a double empty seat right next to the door.  I'm on my own, and I get my book out and loose myself in the world of FBI agents, murder and lies.  I'm blissfully unaware that we've pulled in to the next stop and people have boarded until I feel someones leg brush mine.  Awkward.  Its a dude but I can't see his face as he's sitting at a stupid angle.  I curl into the window and carry on reading and ignore him.

All of a sudden my nose begins to twitch.  I think I can smell a rotten smell, and of course I begin to sniff to check.  Yes, I can definitely smell a rotten smell.  I continue to sniff just to confirm that the smell is still there.  It smells like pure dung.  The corners of my mouth turn downwards in disgust (I'm still sniffing)  it smells like a thousand egg sandwiches have been opened and I begin to retch as quietly as I can.  


The man next to me moves to get up, even though were in between stations.  His bum lifts from the seat about a foot and he sits back down again.  Its him, he's farted.  I can smell it as the full force of his anal assault hits me square in the face.  My mouth is open and I feel the gas creep in and swirl around violently inside.  I see the pages of my book flutter and curl inwards from the nuclear fallout.  I half expect to see oxygen masks fall from the ceiling.  I make a mental note that if they do, I will not be helping others before placing my own mask on, that's what they tell you on British Airways anyway and I reckon they have it sussed.

I can practically see the gas seeping out of him.  The hairs up my nose feel singed and my lips are stinging.  I pull my book up to my face and try to inhale the smell of paper and ink but it makes it worse.  He turns himself round and sits side saddle on the seat, which only serves to disperse the smell in another direction.  He now has his back to me and I feel like painting a thick white stripe down his back.  Skunky bastard.  


My face feels like a melted welly and I contort it in a way that I never knew I could before.  I try to move in every direction in order to find a pocket of air like sonic the hedgehog underwater. Its futile and Dr Eggman has defeated Sonic with noxious gas from the ass.  I know I'm in cattle class but I didn't expect it to actually smell like cow pat.

I darent open my mouth again for fear of toxic inhalation.  I try to hold my breath but I'm useless.  I try breathing through every other orifice but I'm afraid I might accidentally let one off myself so I stop.  I have no option but to breathe through my mouth.  I think I can already feel blisters on my tongue, I'm sure I don't have eyebrows left either.  Hair may never grow there again.

I gulp breaths when I have to and just when I think I'm about to pass out we pull into a station and he gets up.  Inside my heart is jumping for joy, I've never been happier.  My new found joy is crushed when lifts his arse and disperses the remainder of the stale gas he had been sitting on and leaves a trail of devastation in his wake.  I look around for any children who may be carrying recently won goldfish in bags to get a handle on how serious the fallout is.

Just as were about to pull away from the station I notice a dead pigeon on the platform.  Irony.  I'm pretty sure its supposed to be canaries they sent down to check for gas?  Either way, were all fucking doomed.

A. Passenger

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Italian Job

Well hello!  I'm back again! Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, I've had my nose stuck in a really good book so my train journeys have been bearable.  Plus, I've went to the pub a lot after work so I've been drunk on the way home regularly!  I've been in Italy a few times in August, just got back from Naples where I've been for a week with work, no train journeys but plenty of commutes and other interesting moments.  Why do I always find myself involved or in the centre of drama? I can't help it, it just seems to follow me around!

So there I am, in Naples.  In the 40 degree scorchio heat.  I can't go outside as the sun is heating up my kirby gribs and burning my scalp.  I'm sure ill look like a self harmer when I part my hair a different way.  I think I have sunburn on my eyelids.

I'm told that there is a delivery for me but the driver won't part with it until he speaks to me, I hope he's fit.  I walk outside and the heat hits me like I've just opened the oven door, its intense.  There is a DHL van with 14 boxes, the driver is refusing to part with them unless I give him some money.  Now I have been warned that Naples is rife with Mafia so I wonder if I've met a real life don who has a sideline as the DHL man.  He demands €460 in cash from me for the payment of import tax as I've bought goods from China.  Fucking great.  Who carries that sort of cash around, strippers and pimps? 

He speaks NO English and my Italian is limited to Grazie Millie and Pronto and even still I get them mixed up.  We go round in circles for about 40 minutes as I try to explain I have no cash and can pay it on a credit card.  No, credit cards are not allowed.  Apparently there are too many scammers and cards get cloned.  Oh, okay then, let me give you this cash that I carry around in my sock and get no receipt instead then.  Good one.

I am exasperated and eventually offer to show him my tits if he will just give me my delivery.  He doesn't understand as he looks at me blankly.  I resort to actions and pretend to get them out and then look at him quizzically as if to say "is this enough?"  He laughs and he has lovely eyes.  This is the point where he agrees to take a credit card, I don't want to know where he wants to swipe it.  The only problem is he doesn't have a credit card machine so i'll have to come to the depot with him which is a 20 minute drive away.  I can't help but wonder if I hadn't suggested the peep show, if this would have been necessary or not.

I see no other way.  I agree, he offloads my delivery and I have to go with him.  I try to hide once he's offloaded but it doesn't work.  He's waiting for me.  I grab a stanley knife and stuff it in my bag.  Well you never can be too careful and I don't want to end up sleeping with the fishes!

It's awkward as hell.  We don't speak each others language.  After 5 minutes of contented sounding sighs and waving my hand in front of my face to signal that yes, Italy is hot, I've run out of conversation.  Small talk with an English speaking taxi driver is bad enough.  Small talk with a fit Italian delivery man is torture.  "Habla Espanol?" I ask him.  He says no.  My Spanish is limited to asking for a table for 5 or for a glass of wine so it's not a bad thing he can't speak it.

He drives like a maniac.  And I mean a fucking maniac.  I'm actually worried for my life as I see the Italian country side disappear at alarming speed at my side.  I have my hands across my mouth in fear to stop me from screaming.  He looks at me and says "okay?" I try to style it out as a yawn and he smiles. 
We have several near misses along the way and I have to try and communicate that he's frightening the life out of me.  If I talk loud and slow, he should understand.  I say, "ITALIANO, drive.. FAST, SI?" He looks confused so I resort to using my hands to simulate a steering wheel action and try again.  "ITALIANO, drives (with actions) RAPIDO!" Surely rapido means fast no?  He understands and nods, then puts the foot down!  I'm thrown back in my seat as I see the speedo hit, 130 kilometres an hour, 140, 150.... Up and up.  The seat feels damp.  I think I've wet myself.  It could be sheer panic sweat though. 


My Blackberry has been a permanent fixture in my hand since I climbed in, just in case of emergency.  I'm not sure who I'd call that could help me, or even where I am for that matter.  Google maps has let me down and won't load.  It still thinks I'm in England.  Nice one Google, saving womens lives since never!

I have an idea, I "check in" on Facebook, the place, "last known location". If I'm not back at work in a few hours, surely someone will come looking for me.  Mind you, I've been traded for a delivery, so I'm worth nothing any more.  Dammit, I should have taken the delivery with me!  I curse my own stupidity.  Always have something to trade!

The countryside gets more and more remote, the roads get windier, civilisation is disappearing before my eyes and I'm increasingly anxious.  I'm certain that I'm about to be murdered or handed over to the Mafia and sold.  If not, then surely certain death awaits in the Italian Wacky Races.

Finally, just as I'm about to give up hope and write a will on my Blackberry, I see a massive DHL sign!  I'm saved!  We pull into the depot and I heave a massive sigh of relief.  I jump out and gratefully pay €460 for nothing more than a certificate of Import Tax.  I clutch my receipt like a trophy.  I can be traced, I was here.  I was ripped off for €460 but I was here!

I turn around to go back in the van with the Don, he's gone! I spin back round to the counter assistant and ask where my driver is?  I'm told he will be back later.  Later? Fucking later? No, I need to go now!  Stuck in a DHL depot, deep in South Italy is not my idea of fun.  There's barely air con in here.  It would be cooler if someone came and yawned on me.  I pace up and down anxiously and think about what I can do.  I have no cash on me, I'm not sure Italian taxi drivers take credit cards, I can only pay in kind.  Eventually I resign myself to the fact that i'll spend the rest of my life here.  I'll grow old here, become an Italian mamma and cook pasta for all the drivers, i'll speak no Italian and have to communicate with my hands and talking really loudly.  I slump down in a chair contemplating my future here.  Maybe it won't be so bad.  Ill probably have Mafia protection and if I order stuff on Amazon i'll always be in for the delivery. 

I wait for what seems like an eternity and I hear the "toot toot" of a horn outside as my driver has returned!  I never thought I'd be so happy to get in a van with a stranger before!  I climb in and buckle up and relax in my seat for the 20 minute hair raising, white knuckle ride back to work.  The second time around, its not so bad.  I've chilled out, I'm used to this crazy driving.  I'm practically Italian now I think.  Another driver cuts us up and we have to swerve.  I raise my hand and pinch my thumb and finger together and limply shake my wrist in a typical Italian manner.  We share a moment as he bursts out laughing and his eyes sparkle.  I think that means were married now.

I've been too busy saying my prayers, sweating and wetting myself in fear to notice how handsome he is.  We near my drop off point and I feel a twinge of sadness as I realise ill never see this man again.  My bottom lip trembles slightly and I make a mental note to send a monthly shipment from China to Italy with outstanding duty to be paid. 

We arrive, I turn to him and say, "I hate goodbyes". He smiles and nods, he doesn't understand.  This is so hard, I linger in my seat a moment too long.  Although, I'm still not quite sure if I've wet myself or not.  I smile and shrug my shoulders, I say "CIAO" as breezily as I can without my voice breaking.  I feel cheap.  I've just paid €460 for a few hours with a man dressed in a DHL uniform.

Import tax on a delivery from China - €460.  Whizzing through the Italian countryside with a tall dark Italian man who your not quite sure if he's going to pounce on you....


A. Passenger