Thursday, 5 April 2012

Tube Lines

Roundel ashtray
I use the London Underground a LOT. I commute to and from work every day, and - being a live-away Dad with a guilt complex - travel to and from my kids almost every day as well. It (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?


Chuck Waggon said...

Please tell me- In England do people actually travel "on a tube"? Or do they travel inside the car of a train that is travelling through a tube-like passage?

Myeral said...

In England, we are smarties and travel in tubes all the time

Chuck Waggon said...

Indeed. Which raises the obvious questions: If you are already smarties, then when you are at a party can you still hire "Rentaghost"? Or, do you specifically have to become a smartie once you are at a party in order to enjoy their assortment of spooks and ghouls and freaks and fools?

Myeral said...

Most impressive recall of lyrics Mr Waggon. You're an extraordinary fella, just like Uri Geller