I need to file and Health and Safety report from my trip this morning.
Location: Quiet Carriage located on a train travelling between Hereford and London
Situation: Two vacuous women of Black Country descent have spent the last 90 minutes variously discussing shoes, useless employees, how clever their children are, and are now debating the finer points of when it’s okay to lose your knickers in public.
Event: Kindly gent with upright aristocratic bearing seated opposite was riled beyond breaking point. Being English nothing more than raised eyebrows, almost imperceptible shaking of a well groomed head and the odd angry rustling of The Times had so far signalled his displeasure.
I think it was the knickers. A man of a certain age and standing probably has a genetic trigger that cannot be stayed when dippy women gush in not very hushed whispers, and indulge in verbal water torture. It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone mentally explode, so it’s worth reporting the full conversation.
Kindly Gent: “Madam, would you mind please keeping silent, as you have obviously failed to notice this is the quiet carriage. And you are not”
Vacuous Brummie: “Oooooh well it says Quiet, not silent and we’re speaking very quietly and I don’t think we’re disturbing anyone”
(30 papers shake vigorously signalling the communal rustle of disagreement with that last statement)
KG: “Madam, you are. And you have been for over an hour”
VB: “Well I don’t know. You should have mentioned it earlier”
KG: “I was hoping I wouldn’t have too”
(Beginners mistake here, those of us who live in the real world know that manners and politeness rarely break out on this train. That’s why I won’t sit in the cock’s carriage which does allow mobile phones and ego to ply their nefarious trade)
VB: “Well I suppose we can try and be a bit quieter”
KG: “Or you could move to another carriage where I’m sure others would enjoy your conversations as much as I haven’t”
(not sure I got this quite right, but it was an rapier thin insult that punctured the air of the tense calm so far enveloping this conversation. Sharp intakes of breaths and supportive “Yes, Get in there” from the non-bloody-annoying side of the carriage)
VB: “Well there is no need to be insulting”
(Oh I dunno, I think there is more than just cause but KG ignored the comment)
KG: “I hope I have got my point across, really your crass behaviour is totally unacceptable”
And then before the Midlands Super-Gob could respond or strike him down with her terrifying pointy handbag, he stood up, modestly acknowledged the almost silent – yet heartfelt – thanks from all of us, and de-trained* at Reading.
Leaving us with that kind of shocked silence that is gradually filled by people needing to examine some papers very closely and for a long time STARTING RIGHT NOW.
We’ve been here before. Thankfully it wasn’t me today. I was very, very tempted but had inadvertantly left the Heavy Shovel Of Righteousness at home. And obviously, if we’d been in America, someone would have been shot. Ying and Yang, struggling to see the downside of that one.
* Scorpion Pit Alert. Find the man who felt the urge to add this to the Train Manager’s script. Assume he’s the same bloke who talks about us being “re-platformed”. Dunno what this is, but sounds painful.