I am a commuter. At the start of the year I fork out for my annual train pass. I take two trains a day and go through four sets of ticket barriers. I do this about 330 days out of the year. And I have been doing this for about 3.5 years.
If my maths serves me correctly that is 2310 trains.
That is a little depressing seeing that number there. And that doesn’t even include all the trains I took to and from my daily university commute for the 3 years prior to that. I take the train a lot.
Obviously, half those train journeys are the morning commute in and half are the evening commute back home. The evening journey time varies depending on how busy I am at work, if I need to go shopping or if I am meeting a friend. The morning commute however varies by a very minimal margin.
I arrive at the station at the same time time every day. Stand in the same place every day. Get on the same train every day. And look at the same people. Monday to Friday it’s always the same.
I can’t be the only one that makes up stories about my fellow travellers can I?
There’s Barry and Pauline. The strange couple who never held hands in my home town but always left the station at the other end arm in arm. I used to wonder if they didn’t want people to know they were together but they have since had a baby and Pauline has been off on maternity leave with the little one leaving Barry to make the commute solo.
There’s Gok. The most style conscious gent I see of a morning. His hair is always coiffed, his shoes are shiny, his glasses appear to be designer (I haven’t gotten close enough to see the brand) and he wears a very smart military style jacket. He carries a briefcase. His walk is purposeful. He means business. I have seen him reading a very scientific book about eyes and one time I saw him in vision express. I have therefore concluded that he wants to move to London and open his own designer opticians.
Sandwich Man is one of my personal favourites. A slightly older gentleman, he can be seen each morning pulling a sandwich (wrapped in a bag of course) from his jacket pocket. He then precedes to eat it on the train. Very normal you might think. Loads of people stop off at the local cafe to grab a bacon butty on the way to work. Except that never once have I seen anything that resembles a breakfast sandwich. It always seems to be a meat paste or something. Myself and a friend have concluded that his wife lovingly makes him the sandwich each morning for him to take to the office. But everyone else in the office goes out to buy lunch. Sandwich Man clearly doesn’t want to be left out of the group so he eats his sandwich for breakfast. This way, his wife is happy, he is happy, everyone is happy.
Then we have ‘No-Train-Pass’ guy. Now, I actually haven’t travelled on the same carriage as this guy for a while so he may have caved in and forked out for at least a weekly pass, but for months, every morning me and my friend would watch him buy his ticket from the train guard. The train guard would then recommend getting a weekly pass as he would save money. NTPG would then nod along, say he would look into it and then do the same thing the next day. Recently I have started seeing him outside the station more often than in it. I almost said hi to him in the pub the other week, momentarily forgetting that I don’t actually know him.
Every time I see him nowadays though he seems to be with the same woman. But they never seem to hold hands or anything so I can only assume they are just friends or maybe she is his sister. But they seem to spend a lot of time together. On the train, walking home, at the pub where I thought I knew them but then realised he was just that guy from the train.
I need to know what is going on. But I never will because you don’t speak to strangers on the commuter train.
What one guy does like to do though is smile. Constantly. And stare. It’s weird. He’s always there. Being far too happy. I’m a morning person, so I’m pretty happy on in the early hours of the day but this guy takes it to a whole new slightly psychotic level. I always used to see him with his lady friend. Occasionally he would be seen with a tweenage child. I assume he was some sort of illegitimate son. For a while the Mrs seemed to be getting a different train or at least sitting in another carriage but now she is nowhere to be found. Logic says that she has just moved or gotten a new job. Train stalking says he bumped her off and is scouting out the commuters for his next victims. He stares at me and my friend a lot. I really hope we’re not next!
Pip pip Charlotte x