Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blame the children

I noticed on this morning's commuter sardine can from Reading to Paddington that the winter coughs and sneezes have already begun.
At the time, I wondered why, considering most people (not me, I've been saving up for a gigantic stamp duty bill, no, please, don't feel too sorry for me) have had a nice summer holiday somewhere sunny. While I've been slaving away in a basement in Knightsbridge until the late hours, these same people have been sitting on the decking sipping wine and being generally relaxed during those few sunny evenings we've had this year.
Then I realised, the children have gone back to school, and it all became clear.
The little darlings have been and caught each others' bugs and are now distributing them liberally amongst their hard-working parents, who are now bringing them onto the train in the morning for us all to enjoy. I'm thinking of getting a Japanese-style face mask, though I would need earplugs too, as it's the sniffing that really gets to me. Perhaps I should make up some "I Hate First Great Western" tissues to hand out over the coming winter.
I have also realised that a couple of months of first-class upgrades have made me much more sensitive to noise on the train. Last night a drunken couple in the first class area were being so loud, I couldn't concentrate on my book. I didn't dare to challenge them, because one man who was unfortunate enough to sigh and glance over in their direction received a torrent of abuse that lasted all the way to Maidenhead. Which was annoying, as the man himself had got off at Slough.
And this morning, in the quiet carriage, a woman in the corridor spent the whole journey talking in a voice like a foghorn about the saga of dropping her child off at nursery school. I wouldn't mind if either of these incidents had involved conversations of interest, but both were so banal, I became filled with rage that they should be contaminating my brain with such rubbish, though of course I was much too polite to say anything (aren't we always?).
I have definitely become a low-tolerance commuter, which doesn't bode well for my return to the daytime hours this month, when my upgrade is no longer valid. I really think the earplugs might be the way forward, as they'll also block out the onboard announcements.
I know where the safety cards are. And I know where the quiet carriage is. I'm in it. Now SHUT THE HELL UP!!!
Yes, definitely a low-tolerance commuter.


Billyo said...

Ear plugs? Surely you mean an mp3 player, like the other 90% of commuters.

Richard said...

Depends on if you want to listen to music, or actually want some proper quiet.

As for mp3 players....I'm really tempted to carry a pair of scissors with me, to cut the cables on those headphones that are nothing more than miniture tannoy speakers, funnelling their noise into the carriage.

I really don't understand it. I have a pair of headphones, and when I've turned up my music so its intolerably loud to me, I take out my headphones to see if I can hear them tinnying away, and I can't. So for those that I can, they either have very cheap and nasty headphones that don't do what they're supposed to or they must have their volume switch on 10,000,000,000.

I hate FGW said...

I really do mean earplugs. I like to read on the train, and when I'm tired, I can't help listening to other people's conversations, and reading the same sentence over and over again.
I have to agree with the earphones comment too, and even worse - people who play horrible tinny, chavvy R&B music on their mobile phones, with no headphones!