I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The people you meet...on trains

You meet some seriously strange people on trains. These people are often carrying strange things, too. Case in point, the two people I met today on the Sandringham line. Person one was an Asian lady carrying a Very Large Plant (hereto known as VLP, not to be confused with VPL, which, had she been standing up, I might have also noticed.) Anyway so she's carrying this enormous (about 4 feet high) plant - succulent plant of some kind because it was not only big, but it was UGLY. You know the kind, with sveral long spindly bits which kinda 'explode' into various other small spindly bits at the top. This thing was enormous, and she was lovingly carrying it along with several other bags of shopping. The plant itself was kinda wrapped in a black rubbish bin liner (American translation = black garbage bag). It was quite amazing to see her sit down with all her stuff and then spend about five minutes gently rearranging the bag around the ugly plant so as not to damage any of it's ugly spindly bits. I desperately wanted to lean across the aisle, wrap the bag around the plant, and put the damn thing out of it's misery. It was truly a plant only a mother (a blind mother) could love. I couldn't help myself. After staring at this display of VLP love (and I am an unashamed starer, I don't even pretend to look like I'm not looking) I said, "Nice plant. " To which she smiled and said, "My engrish not ver' good." So much for that conversation. Even my Olympic talker self couldn't get very far with this...which is fine because of....

(S)talker Seatmate. (S)talker seatmate was sitting across from me, which in a Melbourne train means our knees were touching. Seems the people who made these trains with seats facing one another assumed everyone was 5'5'' and under. NOT SO, train makers, NOT SO. This leaves me either with knees squished to one side, or me and the other person doing the whole your knee/my knee/your knee/my knee sitting thing. I don't love mingling knees with strangers. Anyway, so my knee companion sits down, and smiles. A lot. He gives me the "I'd love to chat with you" smile - you know the one, the smile which says, "I'm feeling chipper and chatty so you must be too! Let's talk a lot and be best friends before we both get off this train and you breathe a sigh of relief at having left (s)talker seatmate behind!" The kind of person who will ignore all your body language which screams, "leave me alone!" Note, I had the number one LEAVE ME ALONE sign on: a big, fat, interesting-looking book on my lap. Open. Which I was actively reading, not just pretending to read. So (s)talker seatmate starts talking, and myself being a talker (although never a (s)talker seatmate, trains are for quiet time!), I couldn't really not talk back, now could I? Kinda like when you turn your computer on in the morning, it's almost a physical impossibility to avoid checking your email, even if your deadline for work is in the next 30 seconds. So I talk back, but in short leave-me-alone sentences. It didn't help. So I brought out nuber two LEAVE ME ALONE sign: I mention the DH (just in case this dude gets overly friendly). Doesn't help. Talker seatmate asks me about the weather, my football preferences, the rain, if my book is any good...you can see where this is going. This man puts my talking abilities to shame. I wouldn't have minded (much) except for two things:

1. (S)talker Seatmate had the scariest, ugliest, most feral looking teeth you've ever seen. Nice
man, horrid teeth. He smiled a lot. I should have given him some best friend seatmate advice on this one and said, "Mate, you're great to talk to but you make me cringe when you smile. Keep those choppers hidden!" I didn't, just buried myself in my book further and tried not to throw up. Imagine how HIS Mum must have felt when it came time to pulling out loose teeth...*shudder*

2. I was talking. A lot. I have an accent (well, I don't really, but these crazy Aussies think I do.) (S)talker Seatmate morphed into Stupid People Seatmate land by virtue of saying, "So, you grew up here in Melbourne, obviously..." It took me several seconds to recover from this , so I just stammered, "Ummm, no, I didn't." He didn't care, he just kept talking, and flashing those not-so-pearly blacks at me.

Travelling on trains can be a lot of fun - there is often great people watching, you're helping the environment (by not sitting in a car and belching out car fumes or whatever into the atmosphere), you can have quiet time to read or pick your nose or whatever....but sometimes, I must remember to steer clear of people holding VLP's and people who are (s)talker seatmates.

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