I’m heading to meet an old friend, to go out for dinner, have a conversation (maybe even finish it) and generally relax.
I have been excited about this for weeks and the really sad part is that I have been super excited about the train ride. Just a few hours of uninterrupted escapism watching the world go by, not being mauled, reading, listening and not actively being mum. I have planned this out, I booked a seat – forward facing and in the quiet coach, got my G&T, got my book, downloaded some podcasts. This should be heaven.
Only it’s not. The train was 30mins late. No biggie, had a little lunch at the station. But then I have boarded the train and it’s gone downhill.
I am in the right coach. Coach A. The quiet coach. It’s definitely not a quiet coach.
Some overly affectionate youthful couple are canoodling while watching an episode of something on a phone, with no headphones in and the audio turned up antisocially high. Again – no biggie. This will not get me down. I will just pop my head phones in and ignore it….Only then I realise I forgot my headphones.
I look for my reserved seat, hoping that it will be a suitable distance away from said couple. It is. Only it has someone sat in it.
Now, this is sort of situation that makes me very British. Yes I reserved that seat. Yes I selected it especially for its forward facing window view. But no. I will not stake my claim. Instead I will sit on the only other vacant seat in the coach, just adjacent to said touchy-feely couple, which is also reserved. So I will not relax. At each station I will panic that the rightful owner of the seat that I am sat in will board the train and stake their claim forcing me to stand up – correctly evicted from the seat to find my own.
My initial thought is that I will obviously just ask the person in my seat to move. This will be fine. It will be clear I am doing it only because I was forced in to it. However, I look more closely as the thoughtless, rude, seat thief and realise that no, I am just too British. I cannot evict the sleeping 5 yr old from my seat.
Instead I glare at said child’s mother, who is also sleeping (I wouldn’t risk confrontation with a glare that might be seen) and resign myself to a journey of anxious unease resting on my derrière until I have to go stand in the smelly toilet vestibule.
Damn children. Who’d have them?!