Train journeys… (v)

I’ve met many very interesting and lovely people on train journeys, some at a time when there were no mobile phones, no social media but if there had been I’m sure we would have extended our fleeting friendship to something more. However there are fellow travellers who can cause a completely different response. I’m not talking about the rude, the aggressive, the sometimes scary, I’m not talking about the drunks, or the weird people, but people who are just inconsiderate or discourteous.

I’ve shared this story before… and maybe it shows me as being intolerant – although it was private, my thoughts were just in my head! I apologise to the lady concerned for my thoughts, but…

I was looking forward to our train journey, travelling through Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, passing through pretty towns and interesting cities.

I had my latest book to edit, and if I became dull with that I had other things to read, and a pad to write on, and my tablet too… we had a packed lunch, we could buy tea from the tea-trolley, we had window seats so a lovely view was guaranteed especially as it was a decent day, lots of blue sky and sunshine.

Across the gangway, sitting by the window on the other side was a woman of maybe late sixties, seventy. Well, by the time she left the train two hours later I knew everything about her life, her daughter, the famous bands she had sung with, the school she went to… she just went on and on… and on and on… She wasn’t shouting but she projected her voice so I could hear every detail about her family history, her Austrian and Russian connections, her daughter’s job, catching the train to Gatwick, problems with security guards at Butlin’s in Minehead… She spoke about her knee replacement and how she had progressed from a wheelchair to crutches to a walking stick… She just never stopped…

She was talking to a man who was sitting opposite, and surprisingly he didn’t make an excuse to start work on his computer, he didn’t move to another seat, and his ears didn’t explode…

I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t block her out, I could just hear her prattling on and on and on… She was loud enough for people across the aisle to keep glancing and frowning at her. Someone sitting directly across the aisle tried to have a conversation, but it was no conversation, it was just the woman steam-rollering over any attempts to converse.

Maybe I should feel charitably towards her, but if she had been a young person talking endlessly about stuff, I’m sure they would have been asked to lower their voice. If it had been a sweary man, someone would have complained to the guard. If she’d been someone who didn’t have a posh accent, I’m sure comments would have been made.

In the end I fell asleep, and didn’t edit my story, didn’t see the lovely views, didn’t read… driven into sleep by this woman who just WOULD NOT STOP TALKING!


    1. Lois

      Maybe so and perhaps I should be more charitable! but she had no interest at all in the person who she was talking to and steam-rollered over anything he had to say. She wasn’t nasty or unkind about anyone she was talking about, just boastful of all her famous acquaintances! However, I’ll think of her as lonely, and I’ll feel sympathetic, not irritated!


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