the Tube, I mean) really is a fascinating world all of its own; a place full of intriguing tableaux and atmospheres which can change every couple of minutes as people get on or off.
The other night the train was crammed as I boarded for my second homeward journey of the day (I usually go to see the kids first, and then head home from there. It makes for a long day sometimes, but I don't mind too much) and I stood in the middle of the main door area, near the central pole. Two women were chatting directly in front of me, and one of them kept casting curious glances at a young man, who was sweating slightly, earphones in, tapping and sliding on his smartphone as he stood at her side. I thought perhaps he was with the women, but soon realised that he was not; the woman who was looking at him was switching her attention from his phone screen to his face, and it was clearly the content of the former which had piqued her curiosity. Then, the women got off, and I manoeuvred around, ending up by accident next to smartphone boy. I could see that he was typing a diary entry, and then I could make out the words he was entering:
"Remind prime minister that meeting with CIA tommorrow (sic) has been moved to 4 o'clock"
It may be of course that this young chap was some kind of Diary Secretary for David Cameron, but somehow I doubt it. He had written the note in an ostentatiously visible way, ensuring that those around him could see it, and was checking for reactions. He did so with me, wiping away a bead of sweat and making sure that I had clocked this nonsense.
Why, I asked myself, was he doing this? Did he hope perhaps to impress people, maybe pick someone up? Or was he living in a genuine fantasy world, thinking that he was moving through the corridors of power when in fact he was selling mobile phones in a shop in Oxford Street? I will never know, and that's what makes it all so interesting. Don't you think?