I was waiting for my train at Birmingham International Station. It’s called International not because you can get a train to anywhere on the planet, but because it’s got an airport next door. It’s like calling our home, Chateau Grump Evil Bastard Cat.
He is an evil Bastard though. You should see how he looks at me. I hate him.
So I was waiting, and then a guy who works in another department and doesn’t live far from me starts to pass by to catch the same train. I sometimes say hello to him. He has a look of permanent surprise.
“Hello,” I say. He manages to raise his eyebrows even higher, to almost his hairline. “Hey man.” Yes, he said, “Hey man.” This chap in his thirties, an insurance professional…… person used the phrase, “Hey man,” like he was some sort of rock star from California.
I’ve known this chap for a few years now. I say known; I mean I’ve been aware of him for a few years because in a former insurance incarnation, we both worked in the same department of another company. But I always kept my distance. You see, this is a guy who just seems to try too hard to be cool whereas he really isn’t. I don’t mean that disrespectfully. It’s just a fact. He uses all the cool words from the late 80’s and early 90’s. He thinks he’s in Wayne’s World. But the awkwardness is contagious, and I cringe when I hear him talk. When he calls a person, “Dude,” I just want to shake him and look at his shocked face and shout, “For God’s sake man, just relax! You’re trying too hard! You are not Bill S Preston Esquire or Ted Theodore Logan! You are not a Wild Stallion! There is no excellent adventure! You’re trying to sound cool but it’s just awkward!”
Maybe he is just being himself. Maybe his awkwardness and throwback attempts at sounding cool are not a sad contrived attempt at being accepted and liked. What do I know? He’s probably a nice guy.
So that’s why I said hello. After all, I should try to embrace society. Talk to people. Be friendly, warm, chatty and likeable. But then I noticed that he had changed direction and started to move towards me. I tried not to pull a face. A face that resembled the first and last time I ever tried Semolina. I was probably stuck with him for the entire journey home and I did not want that. But, ‘Give him a chance,’ I thought.
He asked me how my day had been. I told him it had been okay, the usual. How had his day been? “Another day in paradise,” he said, laughing at his own wit. Ah, yes, he likes to use clichés for comical effect in a witty manner. I politely half smile. This is going to be a long journey home.
We then chatted about commuting and then Wayne told me about how he almost missed a train the other day because it was so packed. There was no room but he decided to go for it and salmon dived onto the train. I don’t know what salmon diving is. I kind of pictured a salmon diving up a waterfall as it heads up stream for spawning. Although I didn’t believe Wayne here, I did find it amusing with the image of him diving with his permanently surprised look and with arms at his side, like a man-salmon, his body just wriggling as it flew through the air. The passengers of the train looking on with a mixture of awe and surprise at this eighties throwback, soaring towards them, only to land on the train and begin spawning on the floor.
Okay, I thought, he likes to exaggerate a little bit. No harm in that. Hey, once I told people that I blacked out whilst running and listening to the Rocky IV soundtrack, only to wake up in Aberystwyth with my running shoes on fire and flat battery on my ipod. I did exaggerate a little there. My running shoes were merely smouldering. There’s no harm in a little embellishment for dramatic effect. Salmon dive away Wayne!
We laughed about the salmon dive. I cracked a joke. Wayne seemed excited by this. I hope he doesn’t think I want to be his friend. I could return home and find another friend request on Facebook!
Then Wayne started to tell me about a time when he was on the train waiting to get off and there was a really large guy standing in the door. He was apparently huge with muscles on muscles. As they arrived at the station, this huge guy wasn’t moving. Wayne stepped up and asked the guy to press the button to open the door. The guy did nothing. He was blocking the way. It was then that Wayne noticed the muscly man was asleep, whilst standing up perfectly straight at the door. I thought that surely the swaying and braking of the train would have prevented anyone from sleeping standing up. Apparently not. Anyway, Wayne couldn’t wake the huge muscly beast that was blocking the way. So he reached over, pressed the button to open the door. Then what did he do?
According to Wayne he then hoofed the big guy off the train with a powerful kick. Yes, skinny eighties throwback, with a look of surprise and exceptional fish like agility also has powerful kicks that can kick the equivalent of a sleeping Brock Lesnar off a train, leaving him face planting the platform, in a semi conscious slumber. And what did Wayne do then? Did he have to battle with the large muscly semi comatose Brock? No, he just walked off. Probably had somewhere to spawn.
I imagine the most physical confrontation Wayne gets into, is with a cellophane wrapped lettuce and my money would not be on Wayne.
So then I realised that this was to be my journey home. An hours journey, stuck with a surprised, agile, eighties throwback who has the incredible ability to spawn clichés and bullshit!
Why do people lie?
The train arrived and so I headed for a door. I let Wayne head for the same door and shoot ahead. I then turned and made my way to a different door. A sigh of relief!
I didn’t catch Wayne’s response. He always looks surprised.