Some days life just presents you with a blog post…
I was running in heels for the 17:26 to Strood (wherever the hell that is). Recently MrS and I have got ourselves together enough to commute together regularly and it’s really great. Usually we catch a later train from Cannon Street but as he is in Denmark tonight I took the opportunity to catch an earlier train from London Bridge.
I was running up towards platform 4 and the clock said 17:25:30 so instead of making my usual more discerning choice about where I sat I slung myself, totally out of breath, onto the second carriage I came to just as the doors closed. Standing room only but it didn’t matter, this was a fast train and mine was the first stop. As I tried to get my breath back (I’m so unfit) one guy caught my eye and said “Calm Down”. I just laughed and said “Just need to get my breath back” expecting that to be the end of the conversation (this is LONDON ffs). He said “I hope you don’t do that every day” and I replied “Oh no, I usually go from Cannon Street, no running involved”
I looked at my phone, indicating the end of the conversation. By this point I had worked out that he and his mate were drunk, ergo, trouble so I wanted them to just leave me alone.
They reminded me of Statler and Waldorf, although lacking in their benevolence…
He interrupted my twittering – “Where’s this train going then?”
“Strood. I hope” I replied.
He turned to his mate “You c**t we’re on the wrong train”
His mate turned to me – “Does it stop at Eltham?”
His mate laughed and said they’d get off at Lewisham
The young guy next to me said “You won’t mate, this train doesn’t stop at Lewisham”
“Farkin el! Where does it stop?”
“Sidcup” the lad replied
“Sidcup? Who the fark lives there, it’s a shithole”
At this point I’m desperately trying to disengage from the situation by intently studying my phone.
“Can you spell?” said Drunk 1
I ignored him
“Oi, stop texting and talk to people”
I ignored him
He touches my hand that’s holding the phone and I shake it off.
Drunk 1 – “What do you do then love?”
Me: “Well I can spell and I can type fast” Sarcastic, fed up now.
Drunk 1 “oooh you’re a secretary?”
Me: “No I’m a ….. *sigh* yes I’m a secretary”
Drunk 1 ” A secretary from Cornwall?” (Puts on terrible Cornish accent)
Drunk 1 “Devon?”
Drunk 2 “Norfolk”
Me “Yes Norfolk”
Drunk 1 leans in too close and touches my hand again.
“Lots of turkeys up there. You a caaaaaarrrot cruncher then?”
Me “Yup that’s me”
The young lad next to me then asks them what time they got to the pub that morning. I’m not sure but I think he’s trying to distract them from me.
Drunk 1: “10:30. Were you still in bed then?”
The young lad laughed and said “No I was at work at 8″ (he is a plasterer or decorator as he is wearing overalls and hands are covered in something)
They then turn their attention back to me.
Drunk 1 “Where you getting off then?”
I laughed at the ridiculousness of the question. Like I’m going to tell you mate, I was thinking
“Don’t be smutty” he says
I was pissed off then
“I’m hardly going to tell two strange men where I’m getting off the train am I?”
Drunk 1 “Strange men? She just called us strange”
Thankfully at this point the train reached my stop.
It’s worth pointing out that I couldn’t really move away from them, there wasn’t the room. And I didn’t want to make a fuss. I didn’t feel scared as such, although Drunk 1 kept getting tooclose and touching my hand. I did feel embarrassed though and just wanted them to shut up and leave me alone.
I didn’t want to make a fuss.
How very British of me. And how very British of others around me, apart from the young lad, to ignore what was really going on.
If it hadn’t been for the young lad distracting them from me every now and then it could’ve been a lot worse. I don’t think they genuinely meant any harm, although who really knows? I know that if they’d got off at my station (thankfully a busy stop) I’d have gone straight to the local shop and waited there for a long time!
Oh well, maybe they ended up in Strood… Sorry Strood.