When I’m heading back to the depths of Brooklyn each night, a seat on the N train is as a rare as an Alaskan governor at a meeting of MENSA. Given that the N is an express train, and goes particularly quickly by New York standards (by London standards, it’s faster than the speed of light), I’ve been forced to perfect my balance to allow me to do simple things without falling over. Like breathing, for instance.
Of course, when a seat does become available, the frenetic charge towards it by upwards of ten commuters is enough to have the manufacturers of crutches and support bandages rubbing their hands in glee. I’ve been elbowed in the back, (wo)manfully and forcibly held back and generally been pushed around more times than I care to remember.
Sometimes though, just sometimes, a seat frees up right next to you, and even the Carl Lewis’s of the seat grabbing world are powerless to stop you from making it your own. One glorious orange plastic seat, moulded to fit your capacious buttocks, and only marginally harder than an exam in advanced astrophysics. A place to relax, wind down from the excesses of the day, and dream of the roasted chicken and perfectly chilled white wine that awaits at home. A refuge from the high-speed hurtling through the city that constantly threatens to throw you into the lap of that fat guy holding the kebab featuring dubious meat of uncertain origin.
Yesterday, that seat was all mine.
Needless to say, as soon as I sat down, the Nintendo DS playing
numptyteen sat next to me began chewing gum with a ferocity that suggested he’d been informed that the kinetic energy he was producing was being converted to electricity to power the train on its homeward journey. His mouth was open throughout, obviously, making him sound like a cud-munching cow on speed. And we all know what that sounds like.
After five minutes (and a number of furious looks in his direction), I couldn’t stand it any more. Leaving my beautiful seat behind me, I stood up and put myself at the mercy of the train’s violent lurching once more.
I’m sure that the kebab sauce will come off my shirt eventually.