A few months ago, delayed somewhere between London Bridge and East Croydon, again, we sat, staring at each other, thinking faces on, trying to work out how many hours wed have spent on trains once wed lived in Brighton a year. Minutes in a journey times two for a days commute add on the inevitable ten minutes of delays Make allowances for the possibility of fast trains, slow trains, or oh-whoops-weve-got-drunk-and-its-late-and-we-need-to-change-twice last trains Take away holiday days, sick days, add extra time days when you have to go into town for other things and
TWITTERS FROM THE THIRTY-SOLID-DAY TRAIN: A COMMUTING LIFE (IN BRIEF)
I am on a train!!!
Things That Should Be Banned On Trains No.8369: Stinky hot Cornish Pasties. And That guy. Definitely that guy.
Wondering where my summer is. This is terrible, I ordered it months ago, where IS it?
In all, after a year of commuting, wed each spent, give or take, thirty days, all told, on not particularly lovely commuter trains in and out of the capital.
Sitting on the train listening to The Swingle Singers, thinking even Croydon looks pretty while listening to this. And thats Just Wrong.
And then the season ticket ran out, and the new one arrived, and we started the thirty-day train journey again.
Awarding this mornings Anna Pickard Prize For Biggest Cliche to the man in duffel coat and poor facial hair reading book on Orks. Congratulations!
On train. Sniff, sniff. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Sniff. Snooorrrt. Sniff. Sniff, sniff. Seriously: doesnt ANY fucker carry tissues any more?
Marvelling at the Very Fluffy Clouds outside above the train. White clouds, black clouds, grey clouds: but all very VERY fluffy.
Yesterday, I was leafing through the archive pages of my twitter account thing. People seem to be always mithering about Twitter, saying that it is useless, and they cant see what it is for, and it is not always interesting, or not always useful, or not really world-shattering.
To which I say: Hello? Have you met The Internet before?
Enormous woman opposite on train is concentrating on the phone by pulling up her t-shirt and rimming her belly button with her finger. God blind me.
On the stopping train, the third short-haul commuter in a row has just sat down opposite me and pulled out an egg sandwich. Wah.
I, meanwhile, like Twitter, seeing the prompt question What are you doing? as a kind of mini blogging exercise. Trying to get a whole situation and assosiated attitude across in about 140 characters. Its miniblogging.
Chugging in to work, face at groin height of man with really weirdly shaped trouser-top. Really smooth and kind of rounded. Nappy?
Staring out of the window, trying to make a non-sunny day feel sunny by listening to a playlist of Happy Bouncy Songs. Not. Working.
Blogging being, of course the epitome of all that is useless and not always interesting and hardly ever world-shattering and fabulous in its randomness (and anyone who thinks it/they are above this is deluding themselves, I fear).
Wondering just how illegal it would be to campaign to have the directors of First Capital Connect rounded up and shot at dawn.
So I like Twitter. So there.
On the early early train, watching a tiny spider trying to build a web between the luggage rack and a commuters shirt-sleeve.
Thinking I am surely on the Train Carriage Of The Damned. If I am struck down with The Ill, I know who I will be blaming.
Inhaling deeply as train rushes through countryside toward home. Will probly make me sneeze, but English summer smells good (when not of poo).
Wondering why it is illegal to kill people who are annoying on trains. Shaaaaat AAAP! Why. WHY?
See, Twitter fulfils my need to urgently relay a thought to someone, anyone, to scratch it on some ginormous invisible diary page just because for that moment it was the one thought that utterly consumed me.
Gatwick smells of toilet and is entirely populated by idiots.
On the train. Could It Be Magic (Take That version, obv) has just shuffled onto iPod. Trying hard not to sing along.
We are being diverted via Lewes!!! This is very exciting. I have never been to Lewes. I will shout it in my best Inspector Morse voice. Yes.
Listening to a big dull businessman in brown cords describing his weekend in minute detail on the phone. Sad. And also tired.
Or because I have a thing rattling around my brain, and the only way to get it out – like having an earworm, a tune going around your head; this is what writing is like for me – is to craft it, and mark it down somewhere.
Counting how many times the man on the train rearranges his penis. Every time he coughs + every time he thinks no one is looking multiplied by some = ?
Humph. If I lived in Croydon Id be home in time for house. Stupid elections. Interesting. Never wished i lived in Croydon before
On the train in after veh long delayed bank holiday weekend. I have dont-want-to-go-to-school-itis.
I dont update it that often, but was surprised, when I went to look at it in retrospect to see how much I have used it just to post a thought I didnt want to forget from the train. Mostly, of course, I used it to have a bit of a rant about someone annoying me (it happens. often) – and occasionally, very occasionally, I will use it to ask the people on my twitter list a question. Mainly about a word that I have lost and desperately need for something I am writing, on the train.
Fuck. Wednesdays lost word question. Whats the name for the improvised weapon often used to kill people in prisons?
Trying desperately to remember what that word is for people with no colouring and pink eyes. I know its not an ameoba. What Is?
Mostly pissed off. Missed train due to leaving necessary thing on desk. Got to station too late for the free sudoku lady. You know, with the newspaper thing.
Trying to watch important pop video on laptop, but keep getting distracted by couple opposite with HUGE nostrils.
HUGE-nostrilled couple opposite now snogging. Wondering idly what their children would look like. Like Nigel Havers + horses.
Its funny, reading through them, I can remember texting them, sending them, the annoyance or fluffiness or occasional poignancy that coloured that moment of commuterness.
Post-gym. On train, listening to irritable mother tell small son that he ruins absolutely everything. Turning iPod up.
Just realised that there is a Perfect example of an ox bow lake visible from train! Ms Stack would be SO proud of me! Yay!
Short-attention spanned as I am, they represent as well as anything Ive ever found how my mind works.
On train stupendously tired. Making great plans, while simultaneously realising theyre utterly unfeasible and will never happen.
Sometimes thats a bit worrying. Not necessarily the violence of it all. More the music.
Being suddenly and immensely cheered by the appearance of My Sharona on shuffle. Turning iPod very Up.
The woman opposite is filing her nails with vim and vigour. Id quite like to puke, i think.
On the train home from more drinks with recently dumped friend. Feeling cross with men. Starting to focus on work still to do.
It is a fairly representative little diary, I think. And I just thought I should put them in one place.
God, its a beautiful day. This makes me Very happy. Spring is sprung! It is, right? Spring is sprung?
On a remarkably quiet train. Everyone must be out doin some dancin, romancin etc. Soppy Bastards.
8:16 PM February 14, 2007 from txt
Woman on train has so far managed to make Double Decker last 16 minutes. Freakishly small mouth? Ritual? Not even good fucking choccie bar.
Coming in on the early shift is utterly inhumane. I had quite forgotten.
Realising quite how affected my language is by the books I have been reading. Currently: Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford: See last twitter.
I think even if I didnt have twitter anymore, Id use a diary to record just these thoughts. Just these.
And then half an hour sat next to a city gent with a can of stella, taking great pleasure in a bag of nuts, loudly. Monkeynutting bastard.
On train. Bad mood not abating. Now in bad mood With bad mood for not abating.
On worlds stinkiest train. When did having a couple of cans of high strength lager on the train become cool, exactly?
The Girl Is Mine has just popped up on shuffle. Fighting back giggles and trying to remember why it is on ipod, as ever.
No dentist appointments or anything.
Just the fact that someone blew their nose on the 8.42, and it it pissed me reet off. Or
Realising my bag is almost entirely full of used and wet tissues. Niiiiice
Sitting on a very quiet train, listening to ben folds five on the headphones of a guy three seats away. Could be worse
On way into work, listening to very loud woman commentating on every single guardian story in todays paper for her family. Thank you, Maam
I would, you know, I would keep them in a diary.
On train home after work, well no, lets face it, pub. Gossiping about work. Liking that i have nothing to file by morning tonight
On the train, listening to worlds most inane mother and daughter team talking about Westlife. Held up by small object on line
Dogs on the line, indeed. Whatever happened to the good old running things over ethic that made this country great?
On the train in a decidedly silly mood. I think this may be a good day.
And keeping them in a diary could prove a lovely point.
That paper can be pointless too. Just as pointless as the internet. If not more.
But not quite as pointless as thirty solid days on a train.