I Spy With My Little Eye

Ever felt as though you were part of a spy movie? No, me neither, until this evening’s journey home.

“Hello, can you hear me? The Big Man has left.” Inconspicuous looking passenger.

“I said The Big Man has left. The. Big. Man. Has. Left. Did you get that?” Now very suspicious looking passenger.

And with that mysterious line, the guy’s phone cut out. Damn those tunnels.

I begin peering surreptitiously over my ES to ensure I don’t miss his next move. A few stops later and I’m still waiting for the next part of this rather compelling conversation. A text, a text, the passenger in question, who I have aptly nick-named Mr ‘X’, has received a text. Instantly, he picks up his briefcase, yes, he had a briefcase, and walks through to the next carriage. Either there’s some kinda Mission Impossible data transfer about to take place, or my broken stares were making Mr ‘X’ feel uncomfortable.

Perhaps the lady next to me will provide some more rush hour entertainment. Is that really a Sudoku you have there, madam…?

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A* for Effort

With a new academic year fast approaching, students nationwide are gearing up for what they hope will be the best time of their lives.

Let’s hope their eagerness is carried through to the actually ‘studying’ part, and not merely a short-lived enthusiasm that fades at the site of dissertations, deadlines and dishes!

These two young men obviously have their priorities right, which is comforting:

“There are two kinds of characters at Sixth Form. Category ‘A’ – the guy who wants to be everyone’s friend and category ‘B’ – the guy who talks too much and has no friends. Which one will you be?” Eager beaver.

And with that, said ‘friend’ simply shrugged his shoulders and got back to glaring out of the window.

I think we all know who falls into category ‘A’ and ‘B’ here.

Bums on Seats – It’s Time for Human-Sized Guess Who?

Travel games were, without question, top of my list when packing for any childhood holiday.

Scrabble -check

Playing cards – check

Connect Four – check

Monopoly – check (magnetic counters – genius!!!)

As an adult, I miss the excitement of attempting to buy my brother out of magnetic house, home, hotel and train station. The joy of shouting “SNAP” as loud as my little lungs could manage, is not the done thing as a mature, grown-up commuter.  Modern-day technology can only go so far in satisfying my inner-child. As interactive as Apps may be, they don’t possess the real interaction of a dice, counter or miniature £50 note.

During Friday’s commute I decided to test an idea I’ve been toying with for a while (it just so happened to involve my favourite travel game of all time).  I piloted, wait for it, human sized Guess Who? What better place, and what better mix of people than on a packed train?!

To avoid obvious, and what I imagine could be interpreted as weird behaviour, my friend and I text each other our descriptions, with the ultimate aim being to guess who each of us were describing, before said passenger left the train.

“Does he have blonde hair?” Me.

“No,” my friend. “Does she have a copy of The Evening Standard?”

“No. Is he wearing a checked shirt?” Me.

“Yes,” my friend.

“Window seat, second row,” I put my cards on the table, I took an early gamble, but I was confident, quietly, maturely confident.

“Yes,” my friend.

Then, in the split second after receiving confirmation in the form of a winning text, I forgot my place on this busy commuter train, forgot my place in society, if you will, and let out an uncontrollable, “Get in!” Accompanied by a self-gratifying, congratulatory, mini air-punch.

With those two words and that simple gesture, I drew more attention to myself than if I had just won a game of “SNAP”. Perhaps human sized Guess Who? needs some tweaking. One thing I have realised, it’s definitely not suitable for adults.

Have YOU Been Mis-sold PPI?

It’s an inevitable part of one’s day; receiving a call or text from a company asking whether you’ve been mis-sold PPI. Heck, I receive calls at work – even though our manager assigned the company to the ‘no cold callers list’…

A fellow commuter received his daily call on the way home this evening.

“Is this one of these insurance claim calls? Sorry, have I been what?”

Glances of reassuring frustration can be seen on the faces of those nearby.

“Look, is this about insurance or not? A what, a new way to claim mis-sold PPI? Oh right, I see. Well, quite simply, I don’t care.”

And with that, he hung up.

I was tempted to start a round of applause, but the man’s eagerness to terminate the call resulted in him accidentally dropping his mobile phone on the floor, I can only hope it’s insured?

A Lesson in Child’s Play

No matter where I’m traveling to, what time of day it is, I always have the vastly unpleasurable experience of placing myself near a family of, how can I put this without sounding too tight-arse? Hmm, very vocal ‘know-it-alls’.

I’m all for encouraging children to learn and be inquisitive – the more the better – but when it’s a rehearsed dialogue, punctuated with every clichéd adjective under-the-sun, my eyes begin to roll.

“What did you enjoy most about today’s trip darling?” proud mother.

“The National History Museum was wonderful. I learnt so much,” under 10.

“It’s Natural History museum, not National. What was the most interesting fact you learnt?” proud mother.

“Umm, I, umm, liked…really liked the mammals exhibit. They were very impressive and huge,” now slightly flustered under10.

“But can you tell me an interesting fact about mammals? proud mother, now taking on Jeremy Paxman-like qualities.

“Well, I found out that bats are the only mammals that can fly. That’s right, isn’t it Dad? under 10 looking for reassurance.

“Yes, son, that is correct. Well done,” blending into the background father.

“Don’t forget when we arrive at Sophia’s house this evening, you must be on your very best behaviour, we are guests. And if Alexander wants to play with your toys, you must let him, you must play nicely,” proud mother.

After much consideration, under 10 makes his intentions very clear: “But I don’t want Alexander to play with my toys, he’s horrible. I’m not letting him have them.”

“Darling, that’s not very nice. Just let him play with your toys if he asks to do so,” slightly red-faced proud mother.

“No. I’m not playing with him, and that’s that,” decisive under 10.

What a delightful example of pushy parenting, works wonders, don’t you know…

A Nice Family Honeymoon

This comment made me peek out from behind my Metro this morning:

“How come I can’t go on your honeymoon? Everyone at school goes on their parents’ honeymoon.”

Wow. Society in a nutshell.

My A-list Commute

Commuting is monotonous, tiresome and there comes a point when it gets so familiar, you begin to acknowledge familiar faces. Noticing when they’re not there. You even look forward to hearing Mr Briefcases’ poor choice in music through ‘Noise-canceling-I-am-Not’ headphones.

So after mistaking a gentleman for Stephen Fry (I was convinced it was him until my rational inner-voice so clearly pointed out: “Stephen Fry does not have a northern accent”) I got an idea to perk up the daily trek. How many ‘celebs’ could I spot on my journey home? Quite a few, it turns out:

  • John Travolta – has some serous facial piercing going on
  • Eamonn Holmes – rocking the cropped trouser look
  • Jack Black – proud owner of a rather fetching Louis Vuitton tote
  • Anneka Rice –I’m sure she’s been cryogenically frozen – hasn’t aged since 1990
  • Björk – now working for a well-known high street sports store – who knew?

Can’t wait for next week’s commute, goodness knows who I’ll be rubbing shoulders with?