“This train is for York. Please have your tickets and passes ready.”
Mother’s day, an audition in London or a party in another city. These things sound nice don’t they?
Wrong. They fill me with dread. I don’t drive so this involves getting the train. The train filled with mental people. Mental people who want to tell me things.
For example. I get on the train from Manchester to York to visit my family. I’m mentally preparing myself for my Mum’s lasagna. I’ve got a bag of washing stuffed in my suitcase for her to do as soon as I get through the door, she loves it.
I see a tragic looking man approaching me. The key here is to avoid eye contact. This tip is crucial. He sits down next to me. He sighs loudly and then tells me about being made redundant. It’s a long winded story. Why me? There is no advice I can give him. I just say “Oh shit” and then “Maybe view this an opportunity to spend quality time with your family.” He answers back with “My mum’s dead, my wife hates me and my kids have disowned me.”
This man has an answer for everything.
He says I’d be more appealing if I wore tighter clothes. I’m beginning to see why his wife hates him.
I glance down at my watch, only an hour and 10 minutes until I will be in York.
He carries on talking about his shambles of a marriage.
I glance down again at my watch, 45 minutes to go.
My mind wanders to looking longingly into my Mum’s well stocked fridge. That isn’t a euphemism. I’m not an animal. The woman just loves a well stocked fridge. Shelves upon shelves of goodies just waiting to be turned into delicious dinners. She’s an amazing cook but is clueless when it comes to portion control. The words ‘average sized serving’ mean sod all to her. It’s more of a challenge. It’s as if she reads the portion advice and thinks “Bollocks to that.”
Her worst nightmare would be to know that someone was in her house and hungry. In all honesty no one has ever, ever left her house without being deep in a food coma. She is the original feeder. Not a feeder in the kinky sense like I’ve seen on so many documentaries. Always Channel 5.
Channel 5 has a lot to answer for in terms of shaping my once naive, innocent mind.
Back to the over sharer sat next to me. He opens up his leather satchel and pulls out a book. Phew, he’s now reading a book. This must mean he isn’t going to try conversing with me anymore. I look at the front cover and my blood runs cold. This man has gone from a depressed over sharer to a full blown nut job, a mentalist. I won’t go on because I’m not quite sure of the appropriate politically correct term. I’ll tell you what the book is and then you can decide on his title for yourself.
It’s a picture book of women in latex clothing strangling chickens.
The book has so many pages and his eyes widen each time he flicks onto a new one. He’s been gleefully looking at the poor chickens for several minutes when he turns to me and says “What do you think of this one?” I look down to be met with the image of an old lady holding a whip in one hand and an unhappy chicken’s neck in the other. I still, to this day have no idea what the right answer is. If anyone knows then please get in touch. I just say “Ooh, I really need a wee.” I shuffle out of my seat, trying to make the least amount of physical contact with what I can only describe as one of life’s unfortunates.
I go to the bathroom, lock the door and take a long hard look in the mirror. Why does this keep happening? This is not a one off, the week before a woman told me all about her divorce from the ‘Hairiest Arse in Leeds.’ The day before that a man in a woollen suit showed me building plans for a conservatory he was planning to build for his wife and asked me which one she’d like the best. I felt like saying “I don’t know your wife, I don’t care and your suit is shit.” I didn’t say that though, of course. I instead opted for “The second one looks nice. Beautiful suit.” He smiled contently and said “Thank you sweetheart, you’ve made my day.”
My main issue was the fact he was wearing that god awful suit in the height of summer.
Still, it takes very little effort to make someone smile. If everyone did that then the world would be a happier place.
Right, I’ve been in this toilet long enough. Everyone will think I’m having a shit. That’s much more believable than hiding from a man with a chicken strangling fetish. I pointlessly wash my hands and head back to my seat.
There’s a note on my chair and a KitKat. I eat the KitKat first then turn my attention to the note.
The note reads ‘Thank you for listening to me. I’m going to leave my wife. Take care’.
My first thought is “Why did I eat the KitKat so quickly?” I love KitKats, very underrated. My second is “Where on earth did he get that book from?” Asking for a friend.
In conclusion, my top ways to make sure no one sits next to you on public transport are:
1. Act mental – Note, this will only warn off normal people. The more mental you are the more the crazies will think ‘Yes, she is one of us.’ Use your own judgement here.
2. Avoid eye contact by instantly becoming fascinated with a loose bit of thread on your clothing or the dirt on your shoe. Anything to stop you from locking eyes with the nut job approaching you.
3. Always carry around strong smelling snacks – I’d recommend a garlic, tuna and red onion sandwich with a side of boiled eggs for extra effect.
I hope these tips work better for you than they do for me. Or, just learn to drive.