Have you been lucky enough to sample the pleasures of peak hour commuting lately?
Yesterday was my first opportunity to do so since my metamorphosis into a Sand Sampling Specialist (aka beach bum) where I talk to the odd starfish, wiggle my toes in the sand and miss the vast bulk of humanity. So you can imagine my shock when I was suddenly thrust into the tightly packed, pulsating canoe of people that is peak hour train travel.
There were people with the skills of chimpanzees swinging from hoops at either end of the carriage and bodies stacked two or three deep on the chairs.
I was particularly fascinated with what I had mistaken for handholds on the ends of seats. I soon discovered, by the way some commuters were pivoting on them, that they were in fact the latest in ergonomic seating specifically designed for people to perch one butt cheek on each side and grip on for dear life. It won’t be long before city rail advertises the opportunity to tone your buns without going to the gym.
While the train ride might have been boring, the people were not. There was the young redheaded mover and shaker with his hair brushed into a comb that any cockerel would have been proud of, the teenager off to school who smelt like roses but looked like thunder, and the bored businessmen resting their jowls on their expensive watches as they snoozed and dreaded their way to another day at the office.
Then of course there was me, looking like Robinson Crusoe’s long lost lover, and therefore the object of many a disapproving glance.
The people I really felt sorry for though were the well-mannered men who had to go through a dozen professional-looking women before one of them would accept the deliciously warmed seat he was offering. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the opportunity to sit down, especially when my six inch stilettos are making my calves spasm and are grinding away my little toe.
Ok – yes I’m dreaming – my feet haven’t seen the inside of a stiletto in 20 years and have grown so comfortable spreading out on the soft sand that a juvenile hippo wouldn’t find them out of place on the ends of his legs, but you get my point.
Sometimes it’s nice to be treated like a lady and graciously receive the gift being offered, making sure to delicately hook my legs under the chair before the knight in shining armour sees the size of my feet and changes his mind.