Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Tale of Polyester and Sheer Will Power

Today I plan on writing a little bit about things that are Not Liked By Léonie. But first I will quickly tell you about something from my journey to work this morning that made me laugh. And, even though I neglected to actually list this on the.. well.. list (what? it can be a verb AND a noun? that's just baffling), things that make me laugh should be top of the list of stuff Liked By Léonie.
Right, so yeah. I was at Kings Cross tube this morning, on the Glory that is the Northern Line Southbound Platform. Waiting patiently to squeeze myself onto a train I stood, shoulder to shoulder, forehead to forehead, toe to toe with a million and twenty other people, avoiding eye contact at all costs. Because that is The Way. Walk into station, adopt sullen 'tube face', refuse to acknowledge anyone else's existence, even though you are practically dry-humping them by the end of your journey.
Anyway.. yes. This morning I was on the platofrm and one train came and there was no room to squezze on, even in the most slippery crouched-between-a-fat-guy's-bum-cheeks way (I cannot believe I just wrote that. That is disgusting, and I sincerely hope you don't have that image in your head ALL DAY LONG.). So I stepped back. As did most other people who, like me, know that that getting to work three minutes late is not a massive tragedy, and could even be seen as a blessing. But for this one guy just in front of me? It was IMPERATIVE that he got on that train. I assume his life was at stake there, because there must have been a bloody good reason for the sheer desperation this poor man was afflicted with. He was also afflicted with shiny polyester suit and a rather large bag. And he was quite tall. And more than a little bit sweaty.

So he jammed himself on to this train. There really was no room to jam a six foot something sweaty man in a shiny suit carrying a large bag, but he wouldn't give up. He pressed himself onto the other passengers, heaving and shoving, sweating and jostling, while they (obviously) all looked away and pretended it wasn't happenning. He was on. His bag? It just wouldn't fit. He tried shoving it, jostling and heaving it. But to no avail. The Man was getting quite irate by this stage and was clearly terrified that the doors would sweep shut and trap his bag, depositing it on the tracks to be ransacked by curious tube mice.
I would've given up sheepishly at this point. But Our Man? He must've been raised in a military household, such was his ferocious tenacity. He was NOT giving up.
He decided to hook his leg over his bag. This took quite a bit of fairly acrobatic manoeuvering and balancing as he lifted his leg and climbed onto his bag, his polyester-clad thigh sticking precariously out of the door. He wobbled dangerously and did a kind of little jumpy thing to try and squash himself, and the bag, which was now clamped between his shiny, shiny legs.
The doors started to shut
He pushed himself once more, in manner of a woman giving birth being told that ONE MORE BIG PUSH should do it, and the doors swept shut.
As the train, Our Man and his Bag (that deserves a capital after all it has been through) swept off into the tunnel, the rest of us standing on the platform, who, in all honesty, were feeling a bit exhausted and sweaty ourselves, burst out laughing.
Ah there's nothing like a bit of laughter at someone else's pain to really bond a group of Londoners.

It really started my day off well, I thought. Just the hooking, and the sweating, and the polyester-ness of it all. It was joyous.

Maybe you had to be there really. I wish you had been. Then I wouldn't have had to waste your time forcing you to read this post about a Man and his Bag. Sorry about that.


Anonymous Chris said...

A wonderfully told "tall" tale (get it?the man was tall...yes, thought you did)

I had a similar experience the other day. SIX rather overweight middle-aged female German tourists felt they just had to get into a carriage which had barely enough room for a chimpanzee.
Anyway, they forced their way on, huffing and puffing, and muttering in German about how "polite" the English were (who were all patiently waiting on the platform for the next train).
They argied and bargied their way inside, elbows akimbo, handbags and tour-guides wielded as weapons.
The other passengers in the carriage were by this time extremely irate - pressed as they were into air vents and arm pits, due to this unwelcome Aryan invasion.
As the doors began to close, one of the Germans thought it wise to procaim, "Jawohl, Wir haben gewonnen!" (Literally, "Yes, We've Won")
I thought at this moment, that it would be pertinent to point out that the storming of a train carriage did not make up for the fall of Berlin, and the loss of 2 World Wars.
This amused me greatly, and a fellow passenger actually gafawed (how do you spell this word?) at my evident wit. However, such witticisms are only advisable when able to depart the scene immediately - I shamefacedly realised too late that I would have to share the carriage with these Bavarian imbeciles until Green Park.
The moral of the story - don't make jokes in tube carriages, and "DON'T MENTION THE WAR" - ever.
not unless you wish to predicate a minor diplomatic incident at any rate...
big love

2:29 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

That is a good story! I knew there was a reason you spent all that time in Germany, Chris. To come back here and be able to mock tourists. Ten points to you!

2:52 pm

Blogger Bug said...

I cannot WAIT to go to London (I WILL get there in the next year or two, I WILL!), if only to see the train stations. My perfect cousin, who's living there at the moment with her perfect boyfriend, was completely shell-shocked after her first Tube (tube? Does it need a capital? I'm an Aussie, I don't know these things) ride

You see, here we don't have trains for a start, we have buses. And on those buses it's the unwritten rule that you get on and find the first available vacant seat - NOT the other half of an occupied seat, a TOTALLY empty seat - and only when EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE window seat is taken, ONLY THEN may you actually sit NEXT to someone without being glared at maniacally (spelling?) by your seat buddy and having them pull their bag a little closer to their chest becasue they KNOW, just KNOW, that you're really a criminal mastermind and would mug them as soon as sit next to them

Mind you, my friend Cecil DID actually have a guy sit next to her (like, practically on her lap) and start masturbating while staring intently into her eyes. Much freakiness

But yeah, my cousin Em did NOT get the whole "my nose is in someone's armpit" thing of the trains. She still talks about it, a year on

4:05 pm

Blogger A Career Woman and A Housewife said...

ok ok ok, funny funny story, but I have one question for you - did you think about blogging about the guy and his bag while on the train?
-Career Woman

4:13 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

It is a pure joy. Pure and unadulterated. You'll love it! Come to London! It's fun!
Once a guy stuck his hand up my skirt on the tube. That wasn't fun. Although that's very selfish of me, it might've been great for him.
And, no, I don't think a capital is required on the word tube. But I like to use them freely so It's Really Up To You.

4:15 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Career Woman -
YES YES YES I did! And that, for me, made it funnier. Oh God.. what have I become?!?!?!?!?!

4:16 pm

Blogger randommummy said...


7:13 pm

Anonymous Jenny said...

When you start framing your life into blog posts as they are happening, you are too far gone. :) Funny story (and the comment about the Germans was quite funny, too)!

4:05 pm


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