Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bless me

I always try to resist the zeitgeist. I mean, what could I possibly add to the multitude of voices screaming about this shit or that shit? How will my voice ever be heard amid all that scramble? So I am deliberately contrary, most of the time. But just occasionally, events happen which make you contribute to the brouhaha, and so it was on this particular spring night.

As per, the Arsenal (fuck the Rags, btw, come on you Barca!) got in the way of my journey home and made the commute extra-specially hellish. Needless to say, the day I had had at work was absolutely tremendous, and really set me up for being squashed onto a jam-packed tube train with a load of sweaty Gooners and my laptop bag at half past five of an evening. I tweeted earlier about the plane trees, and their seedy residue which is the bane of our lives here in Central London. This year it seems more extensive than ever, filling the air with dense clumps of green seed pods, which catch in your hair, drop into your beer and turn into a staining dust on your clothes if you try and wipe them off. Eating lunch in the park is a no-no, unless you like your sandwich to be liberally sprinkled with plane tree seeds. Which I don't.

So today, amidst the Arsers, I squeezed on to the tube and tried my best not to get too close to anyone else whilst shuffling my bag between my feet, and ducking my head to avoid the closing doors. However, no sooner had the train moved off than I began to feel a tingling in my nostril. A tingling which was not to be lightly cast aside, unless I had endured the tough regime of a Horse Guard on full feather-under-the-nose tickling fatigue. My hands were occupied, so I followed the current DoH guidance and launched my sneeze into the crook of my elbow. This was ineffective against its unexpected force and some aerosol droplets ricocheted off and into the limited ether surrounding me. I could tell by the flinch of a woman standing next to me that there had been some impact of my bodily fluids where they were not wanted, a fact given extra credence by her pathetic attempts to edge away from me even though there was nowhere for her to go. I hastily, but too late, pulled a tissue from my pocket and swiped at the silvery line above my top lip.

It got worse though, and (wrenching my eyes away from the dark smear of snot spreading in the crook of my elbow) as we arrived at the next station and I noticed her hurriedly raise a finger to her cheek, performing a discreet wipe-away motion of her own. I realised then with my own sense of horror that I had emitted into her face! Albeit accidentally.

In a very English way, she tried to pretend that nothing had happened before scurrying into the newly vacated space in front of her, as far as possible away from me, the potential pandemic carrier.

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