I dread rail trips, they fill me with horror. It’s not the trip itself, anyone can sit on a train staring out of the window as the Highland scenery rolls by. My fear is that, confined as I will be for several hours with my fellow man, another passenger might have the temerity to attempt to engage me in conversation.
The only thing that makes train journeys bearable is the fact that it allows me time to work on my next piece of writing or perhaps finish the book I am reading. That little piece of time without distractions is an increasingly precious thing yet there seems to be a large proportion of the population whose sole aim in life is to destroy it.
It’s as though these people actually get on the train and seek out victims. They think, “Ah splendid, people who can’t go anywhere. I bet they are desperate to hear about my back trouble. How wonderful.”
If any of these people happen to read this blog I would just like to point out for their information that I have absolutely no interest in the following topics…Where you can get descent fish and chips in Perth. How rude people are in supermarkets. The price of butter. How much it rained during your visit to Dingwall. The problems your aunty had when her Dachshund got diarrhoea on a train to Nairn. How your entire family comes from somewhere I can’t remember. How wonderful it must be to write. (Oh the irony, of that last one after a large lady from Swindon told me it was her fondest wish to write a novel whilst actively preventing me from writing mine.)
It’s not that I’m not interested in people, I am. I just like to interact with them whan I feel like it and to be able choose the select band that I actually want to speak to. Just because you happen to occupy the seat opposite me does not mean that you have to fill the space between us with vacuous nonsense.
I was once on a crowded train when a woman got on and occupied the only free seat next to a middle aged man. She promptly announced that she was a Jehovah’s Witness, produced a bible and spent three hours trying to convert him. I don’t know what the gentleman in question had done but I can only think that it must have been a grievous sin for God to punish him in such a way.
I’ve adopted a little strategy you might like to hear about. Given the opportunity I sit opposite the most attractive young woman I can find. This has two functions. 1. There is not the slightest chance that this young woman will start a conversation with me for fear I might attempt to lure her into some distasteful sexual encounter. 2. I’ll have something to look at when I get tired of writing.
Perhaps I should just wear little sign. PLEASE DO NOT SPEAK TO ME. I AM A COMPLETLEY SELF OBSESSED HEDONIST.
That should do it.