Saturday, 27 March 2010

On The Train

Virgin Trains, don't you love them? They have a knack for winding up people like nothing else on earth. Today I witnessed the most ferocious argument between a youngish working class girl and a mum who, thanks to a cock-up with the reservation signs, had helped her young family to the clutch of seats the woman had reserved for her friends. What happened next was a full scale verbal assault on the mother. 'Do you know what, people like you really wind me up, do you know what, these seats are mine and people like you have no manners and do you know what, I can't believe that you're just sitting there and do you know what....' etc etc. Despite the continued barrage and the raised eyebrows of the other passengers, the mother refused do budge saying quietly, in between the other woman's anguished gasps for air, that she would not move because she had a three year old and they had no where else to sit. Her calm tone only riled the woman even more who in the end sat in the one remaining seat next to her. 'I am going to sit here and I'm going to make your journey hell for the next five hours, is that what you want, is it, is it?' The rather tired looking Scottish bloke sitting next to me piped up. 'Listen Darlin', I think she's got the message.' 'What's it got to do with you,' the woman retorted. Another lady butted in, 'I think it's the principle of the thing,' she said glaring at the mum, 'these are her reserved seats even if the sign up there doesn't say that.' All the while the mother's husband, a grey faced American in a base ball cap, strode up and down the carriage searching in vain for somewhere to move his family. By now the woman's shear aggression was visibly upsetting the two children who had sat through the onslaught. It was a huge relief when one of angry woman's friends managed to find her a place further up the carriage. Maybe it's some kind of class prejudice, but by the end of this ghastly encounter I felt terribly sorry for the mother even though she was completely in the wrong. Must be a first.

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