The seats next to us are full of men in suits, young men and old men. Men with eyes locked on their kindles. From our perch on the carriage floor we can see body-fat overflowing their shirt collars while they focus on their devices.
Maybe they are doing something very valuable. They work for Oxfam, Cancer Research, the NHS or something where the luxury of a seat on an unfeasibly busy First Great Western (FGW) train service from London Paddington is a just reward.
Alas, I can’t convince myself that all the seated people are contributing to something socially valuable.
Elbowing and shoving to get seats is what happens at commuter time. I normally stand back and board the train last or let the flow carry me forward. Unsuprisingly, I rarely get a seat. On this tiring day I had chosen to sit. Chosen the carriage isle floor. I used the handle on the side of a seat to gently lower myself. The man in the behandled seat ‘tutted’ without turning his head towards me. A coincidence?
The beautiful boy with the ginger beard watched me, then followed my lead. I wonder what he was thinking as he scrutinised the seated ‘people-who-never-look-at-those-around-them’. He raised my spirits because he had the courage to see the people around him, chose to steps away from conformity, and harassed noone to get a place on the carriage floor.
I don’t think he’s a banker. I considered proposing.