Monday, August 2, 2010

All eyes on me.

Well yesterday I decided to be an eco-friendly traveller and take the train home from my folks' place in deepest darkest countryshire. I was looking forward to a few hours sitting down, bit of blogging, bit of research into cats that play the piano, bit of food...but the train I was getting...the 2 hour train I was getting...was standing room only.

We were packed in like sardines and as it was a direct train there was absolutely no chance of a seat. Not even a squat in the aisle. At first I was quite alarmed by this prospect but then I started chatting to a friendly fellow (is it possible to meet a mean fellow? Is fellow necessarily positive?) who was quite happy to while away the hours between the baggage rack and the toilet.

The main problem was that the aisles were so crowded that people were really struggling to get to the buffet cart. I felt we only really needed a chicken and somebody with good mountaineering skills on the roof and we'd have been in Slumdog Millionaire. Only with air conditioning. People insisted on very politely requesting that we 'excuse them' as they passed by, or saying 'could I just squeeze through' as though there was an alternative to the space we were occupying and we'd just chosen not to stand there.

Why would anyone choose a seat over the aisle? Madness!

But anyway, we struggled on and eventually came up with fun games to play with the people passing by. It was 5 points if you maintained unblinking eye contact with someone from the start of the carriage to our vantage point, 10 points if you gave them a sneaky hug as they went by, and 15 points if you could persuade someone to bring you a present on their return journey from the buffet car.

I am now the proud owner of one bottle of coke and a threatened restraining order.

Now, my new found friend and I were getting on well when we were joined by 'Drunk Man Who Had Been To Newquay' or 'whisky teeth' as I like to think of him now.

Usually I'm ok with drunk people, I find them funny and I have that rare feeling of being the maturest person in the conversation. But this man was critical.

Firstly he tried to poke me in the eye. This was because my eyes were frightening him apparently, because they look like granite. anyone that has ever had grit in their eye will know that to have an eyeball entirely made of granite would just not be a pleasant thing. So he tried to poke it, but then freaked out some more because I didn't blink. I have no explanation for why I didn't blink.

He then asked if my coat was a tablecloth, which normally I would think of a sharp retort but at this point he lurched forward and headbutted the friendly fellow. Quite accidentally as, I remind you, we were standing in a train. He was immediately very apologetic and there were hugs all round to show how sad we all felt. Then he came back to the subject of my freaky eyes, but this time he had some make up advice for me.

If I were to use mascara on my eyes only from the centre outwards then my eyes would appear much bigger. I tried my best to just laugh along with the drunken ramblings but this actually brought up some deep seated insecurities for me. See, the thing is everyone in my family has massive blue eyes. And mine are the littlest eyes. I am actually the littlest in the family (despite being nowhere near the youngest). But havign the littlest eyes meant that I was occasionally referred to as 'slitty eyes' - this of course was a reference to the famous Prince Phillip gaffe from China ie 'Don't stand near Laura too long, you'll go all slitty eyed'. Which was quite a harrowing experience for one so small.

Whisky teeth soon lost interest in the make up tips and staggered off down the train to bother a small girl in a green dress who he feared was chatting up his mates. We breathed a sight of relief. But a small slitty tear did escape my miniscule eye.

I am now considering surgery to have my eyes expanded. Or, I will be buying stocks in Maybelline mascara and running out to use a tube a day. Damn you Whisky Teeth.


  1. Hello!

    It is I, the aforementioned "friendly fellow." Excellent description of our train-based larks.

    Let us not forget that Whisky Teeth actually did poke me in the eye right after headbutting me!

    He was lucky that I was also a boozed out, tired Newquay visitor on my way home (hopefully I didn't reek of it as much as he did!), otherwise he may have been dealt a bunch of fives.

    Normally I would be fuming having to stand for two hours on a train but I was a picture of serenity, so thanks for making it actually quite fun!

  2. This brightened up my very boring day Laura. I'm catching a train from London to Southampton this week, I can only hope it will be as adventurous!- Toni x