I don’t know why this is so annoying, but it is. Yesterday I’d worked a little later than usual and timed my arrival at the station just right – the long train, my favourite door, a 3-by-2 set of seats all to myself. Everything was shaping up for the perfect journey home. Until a woman came through from the next carriage – having obviously not found anyone she wanted to annoy enough in there – and plonked herself down next to me. RIGHT next to me. There were five empty seats she could have chosen in the set, and four of them would have been fine. But no. She had to sit in the one that had us thigh-to-thigh. Everyone should know by now – surely – that this is just wrong.
Now I know, I know, anyone who takes a sardine-formation train home has zero sympathy for my plight on this one. But you have to admit it’s irritating. It would have been irritating even if she hadn’t filled in the next 25 minutes with putting her bag on the outer seat and doing her makeup and eating a snack and then having a long phone conversation in which every other word was ‘actually’. If she had sat down there and single-handedly saved the world from global warming, or discovered the cure for AIDS, I’d still have hated her. But what was I to do? I couldn’t say anything – it would just have been too petty. I couldn’t move – too pointed. All I could do was flick out the pages of my newspaper and send out waves of silent hatred and hope she got the hint. She didn’t. She just sat there tranquilly right beside me, snacking and preening and phoning, with acres of empty seats spread out around us. She didn’t even have the decency to get out at Clapham Junction.
Why do people do this? Why? Why?