The joys of commuting. The wonderful experience of being crammed into a small metal box with a bunch of strangers with varying degrees of personal hygiene is without doubt, one of the hilights of my day.
Take today, for example, I had positioned myself with an optimum chance of getting on the train within the first wave of commuters. This skill comes through daily practice of studying where the train doors will be when the train stops. Over time I have harnessed a skill like that of clairvoyance, knowing roughly, exactly, where abouts, approximately the train will accurately stop and therefore where to stand relative to the doors for optimum boarding efficiency. I pride myself in my accuracy these days, although it’s probably not the most interesting thing to brag about, especially at a training session at work during the introductions where you share an interesting fact about yourself during an “Ice-breaker.” Yes, you might have someone in the group who travelled to Africa to help build a well for an impoverished community; someone who trialled for a Premier League football team; or someone who met Paula Abdul whilst shopping for athlete’s foot cream in Boots the chemist; but throwing your hat in the ring, regaling the room with how you know exactly where the doors of the train are going to stop, unfortunately, doesn’t impress anyone.
Today was no exception with my train boarding abilities my friends, and I was one of the first wave to board the train. The choice of seats available to me was a joyous sight indeed; the spoils of my hard work being the choice of a rapidly decreasing number of available seats. Granted, not all of the seats would be an option. It depends how filthy they are and if there is any question of whether a stain is wet or dry, it’s just not worth the risk. Today, however, I opted to not delve quite so deep into the carriage, because I knew that the train was going to get very busy and the deeper into the carriage I am, the greater the slog to wade my way through a sea of commuters to get back to a door. Crowd surfing hasn’t been trialled yet but I think it’s a good idea. My stop was the third one along and so I decided to take a stain-free, aisle seat, next to a young lady and near the door.
This was my mistake.
At the next station, a further mass of miserable office workers pile onto the train, making the population of commuters much denser. It was then that I felt a pressure on my left shoulder. I was not prepared for what I was about to find; for as I turned my head to the left, I found staring right at me, perched comfortably on my shoulder, a man’s arse. This bloke was taking liberties here. I mean, who did he think he was, perched on my shoulder, casually, like a boy band member, dressed in white, on a stool about to sing a tender love song to a bunch of screaming thirteen year olds in 1994!
I din’t think this was a conscious decision by the man. I think it just happened but still, it was just there, as bold a brass, perched neatly on my shoulder. I’d had a long day at work, (well, it felt long); I didn’t want my face to be in such close proximity to another man’s exit hole, with only a couple of layers of material keeping us apart. That is assuming of course, that he wasn’t going commando.
I was hemmed in, I had nowhere to go and the owner of this anus was also squashed in, hence the shoulder stool he had found. My range of movement was minimal. I did what I could, I leaned away to my right.
This, I could tell, made the lady to my right a bit uncomfortable because now she had a strange, yet ruggedly good looking and bald man, leaning towards her. She responded by also leaning to her right as far as she could go, which wasn’t far at all.
This wouldn’t have been as bad, if that had been the end of it. But now sensing the space behind him, the owner of the balloon knot filled the space once again resting it on my shoulder like a Shitting Arse Parrot, like I was some sort of posterior pirate called Captain Brown-Eye. It was disgusting.
My only other option, because I couldn’t lean further to the right, I’d have been resting my head on the lady’s shoulder which to be honest, would have felt a bit like cheating, and on a packed train full of people, the female scream draws a lot of attention. So I leaned forward, and the cheeks kind of flopped behind me. I wondered whether to flip reverse the awkwardness by now leaning back to rest my head again his buttock like a fleshy gluteus cushion. Of course, I didn’t. That would be ridiculous and very wrong. So instead, I was now practically doubled up like I had a stomach cramp. Oh well, just two more stops to go.
At my stop, I stood up and followed my “close friend” off the train. He was taller than I and so I did think that this could have been avoided if he was a couple of inches shorter. But equally, I was also grateful that he hadn’t opted to turn around. It could have been like a scarf over the back of a chair! That would have been worse, surely.
I have to count my blessings also in that he didn’t have jacket potato and beans for lunch. Every cloud I guess.
So let this be a warning to you, out there, in the urban jungle, these are unwritten rules of commuting. Never opt for an aisle seat, near the door on a packed train.
Or, if you’re standing and it’s very cramped, consider a shoulder stool.
Maybe that’s why large shoulder pads died out after the eighties?
P.S: If you’re wondering the relevance of the above image, I searched for Arse Parrot and that’s what came up.