â€œI just did” is, in my experience, a proportional response. This holds a special pleasure when directed at some pompous ass who truly believes every Englishmanâ€™s home is his castle. Itâ€™s almost charity work to disabuse them of the notion that house deeds rarely extend to the public road.
I had a similar experience today. Chiltern Railways â€œcyclists charter” treats bike carrying in the same vein as murdering your fellow passengers with a blunt axe. Messy and bad for business â€“ especially at peak times. Therefore I had little option but to haul cold, dark butt out of bed at 6am in the morning so as not to suffer the fate of a possible eviction at Amersham.
Wind back a bit here. Why was I doing this? So I could swap
And I hear you ask again Why the hell was I doing this; replacing one mountain bike with another? Long story which inevitably will be blog-food in due course.
As the 6:35 rolled out of Stoke Mandeville, Iâ€™d cunningly wedged the bike into the disabled area. The train was almost deserted and short of suffering some potential early bird wheelchair action, I was perfectly positioned for some quality snoozing.
What Iâ€™d failed to recognise was a. this is the slow train which stops at every station, siding and seemingly where people stick out an opportunistic hand and b. there is a critical mass of sad buggers travelling that early. Past Amersham, itâ€™s standing room only and lustful glances are being cast at the foldable seats nailed shut by forceful insertion of a mountain bike.
As yet more time impoverished commuters spurned the chance to mutter â€œfeck it, I canâ€™t be arsed, Iâ€™m going home instead” and instead shoved the already pre-shoved human cattle further into the carridge, someone snapped.
Iâ€™m calling him Mr. Ass, first name begins with P and itâ€™s not Peter. You can recognise the type; daily mail hidden inside the financial times, huge overcoat for the glacial trek between platform and taxi and face pressed gently into the window due to the â€œslight overcrowding you may be suffering this morning”.
â€œBloody bicycles, they shouldnâ€™t be allowed to travel on the train. Taking up three seats as well. Bloody disgrace”. Heâ€™s looking round for friendly support but instead his gaze falls sneeringly on me recognisable as the bike owner with shorts, vibrant yellow jacket and amused expression.
â€œYours is it?”
â€œCertainly is. New as well. Do you like it?”
â€œNo I bloody donâ€™t. And it shouldnâ€™t be on the train blocking up seats”
â€œYeah it should actually. Any time before 7:30am”
â€œWell why donâ€™t you bring it on at a more convenient time and stop being so selfish”
â€œWell why donâ€™t you stop being such an arse.” (not my finest response but I was barely awake, he rants on)
â€œYou should buy it a ticketï¿½?
â€œOh really? Itâ€™s in wheel chair space and do you think a wheelchair user should buy three extra tickets as well?ï¿½?
â€œThatâ€™s not the point”
â€œItâ€™s exactly the point. If someone really needed the space, I do something about it but since itâ€™s only your overfed fat arse weâ€™re discussing here, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll bother”
(Heâ€™s starting to go red, and trumpets a sound which I can only describe as the intestinal rumblings of a badly constipated elephant)
â€œHow Dare You? If I had my way you wouldnâ€™t be able to park your bikes anywhere on the train at any time”
â€œYeah, well I could always park in up your arse which clearly has potential for quite a few wouldnâ€™t you say” (Iâ€™m getting a bit concerned about my arse references. Maybe he thinks Iâ€™m an aging rent boy)
â€œIâ€™ll be taking it up with the station manager”
â€œFine, in the meantime, youâ€™re standing up, my bike and I are sat down and you lost the argument. But hey if it makes you feel better, go for it”
(He goes to try and move my bike. God knows where as space is limited to the luggage racks and the roof, still Iâ€™m not happy)
â€œTouch the bike Pal and I promise you that â€“ in front of a 100 passengers â€“ I really will shove it up your arse. And Iâ€™m pretty sure the station master would have something to say about that”
He harrumphs once more and mutters about the youth of today (although weâ€™re probably a similar age, he has more hair, girth and self righteousness but loses out in the key area of a sense of humour)
Aside from a little giggling from those in receipt of unexpected street entertainment, nothing else really happens other than a little facial duelling. Heâ€™s giving me â€œconstipated elephant” which I think is meant to be threatening or heâ€™s suffered an unexpected bowel movement and Iâ€™m responding with cheeky chappy â€“ a cross between Roger Mooreâ€™s eyebrows and Zippy off rainbow.
I hoping an upgrade to proper dualling will spill onto the platform where aluminium mountain bike beats Daily Mail crossword ever time. But no he storms off with what Iâ€™m assuming is his â€œyouâ€™re not worth it” demeanour.
Being a true class warrior I canâ€™t help but shout after him â€œHey donâ€™t go so fast, I need somewhere to park my bike”
I know. Iâ€™m going to hell.