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Dear Knobhead-On-The-Tube

11 Jun

The London Underground

He stood there in a Peter Storm windbreaker and jeans in the centre of the carriage with a clean McDonald’s paper cup. He had clearly gone and asked for an empty one rather than selflessly enjoying that Limited Edition Caramel Milkshake like Dumbledore did in the Horcrux Cave. That obviously wasn’t milkshake- although consuming things from McDonald’s has left me rolling around on the floor saying  ‘no, no, I’m dying’ too.  I missed the beginning of his spiel because I had plugged myself into my music as loud as I could without receiving condemning looks  from my fellow commuters, but I was quick to tug them out as soon as I noticed this relatively well groomed stranger was making a public speech of sorts.

The most widely accepted tone of someone appealing for change is one that sits somewhere between sincerity and politeness, sort of like that guy that has clutched the same copy of The Big Issue outside Manchester Academy for years. ‘Can you put a smile on a homeless person’s face?’ I would feel like a wretched human being saying that if I had a penny for every time he asked me that I could have bought him his own house by now, if it weren’t for the fact that he’s not actually officially employed by The Big Issue and I’ve seen him choose a luxurious Stagecoach bus into town over a haggard Magic Bus… when it would actually only take about ten minutes to walk. Yes, consider this a public outing.

But this chap on the tube didn’t go for this approach. He wasn’t even homeless. He was clean, smartly dressed, the backs of his ears and fingernails were probably cleaner than mine- but there’s no surprise there because I’m actually I bit of a hideous scruff. I still don’t understand when people recoil when I tell them I bite my toenails- I think it demonstrates my supple flexibility, and besides, it’s not as bad as that time I bit that fifty-pence-sized blister on the bottom of my foot. The first thing I noticed as I zoned in on this speech was this man’s tone. He was speaking with a sigh like someone who really couldn’t be bothered. Perhaps like a child that has been forced into attending a dance class cos his Mum really liked ‘Billy Elliot’ and but would much rather be having a kickabout instead.

‘…so BASICALLY (sigh of indignation) I just want some extra cash this week. I’m starting my job next week when no doubt I can look forward to looking as miserable as all of you, but you’re all already working so just please just give me what you can.’

He finished this oration on a sharp pitch with the firm, curt tone of the teacher you liked least at school. I then watched him make his way along with the cup held out indifferently behind him like a demanding relay baton of scorn. He then repeated his aggressive patter to the next section of commuters before getting to the end and turning to glare and snarl at everyone who had, unsurprisingly, not given him anything. So, the whole train essentially. He was just so flabbergastingly rude. It may have been because I’d been treated to a few beers on an empty tummy, but I like to think it was my fiery belief in right and wrong which motivated me to stand up and march down the length of the carriage to square up to him.

‘Excuse me, sir. But who do you think you are? What gives you the right to stand up here in front of all these people who have had a long week, most of them working for some faceless corporation that offers them a wage in return for being demoralised and trapped in a life of grey monotony and misery just so they can care for their families? What’s more, who are you to tell me I’m miserable and try and guilt me into giving you anything? You know nothing about me! I’ve been living off a paltry income for years on a wage that would average out to scrape in at just about national minimum, and I am currently working for absolutely nothing in order to pursue ambitions for a career that is notoriously hard to get into. The government won’t provide me with anything, I’m floundering at the bottom of my overdraft and have very little to do anything except work, sleep and have meals cooked by my Mum- but you know what? At least I’m not a **** like you.’

…of course, this didn’t actually happen.

I just stared at him for a bit before he got off the tube at Moorgate. To add insult to injury I have a feeling he may have misconstrued my ”smouldering angry’ eyes at ‘ooh baby take me now’ eyes. Sadly, I fear a strongly worded letter addressed to ‘Knobhead On The Tube, 1 Dickhead Avenue, Arsehole Park, PR1 CK’ would get very far so I’ve had to live out my hindsight fantasy here on the internet. It’s one of life’s cruellest twists- experiencing a situation that leaves you fuming then thinking of the most perfect comeback as you struggle to get to sleep that night.

Thankfully, I can say I didn’t have the same difficulties in airing my rage the night I had to watch a drunk boy decide to relieve himself (not in a sexy way) all over the seat on the train in front of me.

‘You dirty ****ing little *******. You’re never getting laid with that disgusting thing.’

Simple, but effective.