Someone’s pissed on the fucking train.
It’s a short dash to catch the last train before I’d be late for work, again. I’d be late anyhow but still I squeeze myself onto the Central Line to Ealing, wherever that may be. My endeavors are met with the same grey faces that this gritty form of conveyance perpetuates. Even the kids look sad as their parents provide a shining example of a future pointless servitude.
It seems worse than usual, like another dimension has been added to the stagnant visuals of the carriage, sticky underfoot. It is, ladies and gentlemen, the unmistakable aroma of piss. The rinsed kidneys of one thousand tramps, distilled into a small portion of the fiberglass and metal tube that we call transport.
Folk are visibly disgusted by the fetid stench; some hold hankies tight to their noses. However, no one leaves. It’s blitz spirit, London united against the odds. That and they don’t want to give up their precious seats. It is sad that it’s come to this, a feat of disgusting endurance over common sense.
The carriage is split into three sections of twelve seats and I scan every one, looking for the culprit. Pregnant mothers pushing prams, well turned out city boys and some media types whose trainers belie their age. No, none of them.
Then my eyes fall upon him, grey trackies and an off white t-shirt, both garments too small for his bulging frame, he sits there panting and sweating in the clammy environs of the underground. Behind thick rimmed spectacles our eyes meet and I catch the flicker of a smile and an admission of guilt. Truth is he’s no bandit, vandal or prankster, just old and unused to the vast distances covered. That and he didn’t want to pay another £2.80 to leave the ticket barriers and re-enter, relieved. This is a man who had summed up his options and went for it. As he shuffles uncomfortably in his seat the fumes of low quality lager seep from the deepest recesses of his stained shirt. So he’s drunk too, why not?
The woman next to him is almost in tears from the overbearing aroma. She knows it’s him, we all do, but social convention feigns ignorance at such obvious destitution.
He doesn’t care what home county-bred executives think of him and what about the kids? He slouches lower in the frayed seat, as much a bastion of how not to live your life as their overworked parents who sit prim and proper, trying hard not to meet his unsteady gaze. He is happy for he has release all his immediate anxieties with the simple relaxation of his prostate, a laugh in the face of the complicated, sad lives of onlookers, those that cast such ready judgment. In the mean time he just sits there, bloated, fat and satiated one of the happiest individuals on board the train rolling west.