Currently sitting on my bed with a pile of bags at my feet after a successful day’s shopping and merriment-making with Mother in Cambridge. After the disappointment that was Christmas, we did wonder why we were stepping out in the cold again this morning – but we made sure it was worth it!
As we sat on the train this morning (Mother like a child with a new toy with her new iPod, shouting at me as soon as the headphones were in, dancing around, and making general noises of excitement as each new song came on!) I partook in a spot of people-watching. It led me to realise that I’m still rather unsure of the rules of train etiquette despite many, many train journeys, and am almost convinced that I have my very own set. I do, however, understand that people-watching when in close proximity must be executed in the most secretive of manners!
The plethora of reading materials was a sure sign of the eclectic mix of passengers today. The first magazine that caught my attention was a rather risqué French magazine with lots of scantily clad ladies decorating the advertisement pages. Sneaky peaks of the various articles as the lady (who I’m going to go right ahead and assume was a French tourist) flicked through the pages gave me a prime opportunity to practise my French de-coding. I can confirm for anyone who has ever had the pleasure of experiencing my French, that it is still as appalling as it always has been – the word ‘homosexuels’ was about as far as I got.
In front of French-tourist-lady as she will now be fondly known, was eccentric man with wispy grey hair sticking out at all angles from underneath a woolly hat. He had chosen to bring a selection of large newspapers to peruse. As a passenger, my heart always sinks a little when someone with a broadsheet decides to occupy the seat next to mine. There is NOT ROOM on a train for enormous sheets of paper. Also unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for him), the content of the Financial Times was not as entertaining for me as de-coding risqué French magazines.
My attention was then averted to the opposite side of the carriage from French-tourist-lady and eccentric-wispy-hair-man to where a family off out for a day trip sat. They were the sort of family who were clearly prepared for all eventualities with their waterproof coats, multiple layers of woolly clothing and gigantic rucksacks for the unfortunate parents to drag around for the day. Father and son sat opposite me; father with his multi-pack of fishing magazines, son with the Simpsons. I could only assume mother was reading ‘Woman’s Own’ or another magazine that would firmly cement the stereotype.
Just beyond French-tourist-lady, eccentric-wispy-hair-man and the family-on-a-day-trip sat passengers who cast my mind back to my childhood and early teenage years, as a young boy ripped open the cellophane covering a new magazine and eagerly fished out the free toy whilst ‘let’s-pretend-we’re-all-grown-up’ coffee was drunk by chattering friends.
Nowadays I may sit quietly in my seat, but clearly my mind is whirring away!