Jumping up and down on the train seat probably wasn't helping matters. "I don't feel well," said the little boy in a sing-song fashion. The message this counter-intuitive style of delivery lent his words was mixed which may be why when his mother asked, "Oh what is it Miles, darling? she might have sounded concerned but nevertheless addressed the question into one of her carrier bags the organisation of which she'd been debating with her husband. Should the box of eggs and those dinosaur-shaped plasters should go into this one or that one? There or there?
"Not well," replied darling Miles failing to shed any further light on the matter.
I'm no doctor but I wonder if those cross yet impotent English looks and the silent tutting the rest of the carriage was making in darling Miles' direction might have been having some egregious effect on him? As it turned out, the responses his leaping about on the seats engendered in his fellow passengers seemed not to be the cause of anything: neither Miles' unwellness nor a decision on his parents' part to get his bloody feet off the seats and sit down. As it was, it was the chocolate milkshake he'd consumed just before boarding the train which was at the root of his malady and soon enough, as the train pulled into Hampton Wick, all of us within a small child's leaping distance were afforded the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with said milkshake as it made its bid for freedom and leapt back up from his stomach.
All of this had distracted me from my mulling on one of the crucial rules instructing the making of much ITV crime drama; namely this: if there's second-hand bookseller about you might as well stop watching now because sure as eggs is eggs he'll be the killer, and if he wears a bow tie his crimes will be of a particularly sadistic nature. In turn, whether this crime malarkey was on my mind because I'd woken mid-dream that morning with the following line ringing in my ears - "Right up until the moment he actually fired the gun in my direction I had assumed, naively and wrongly, that he wouldn't actually have the balls to do it" - I obviously will never know. From somewhere beneath the eggs, or it may have been the plasters, Dad discovered some tissues and a rather ineffectual mopping-down exercise was launched. I could see another middle-aged, bald man across the carriage from me also eye up the catch on the small portion of the train window which would actually open. I assumed he too was wondering whether it was unnecessarily cunty to use it, even if we'd all benefit from the fresh air, not least darling Miles. But like me, he bottled out, and then I realised I'd been looking at a reflection of myself and there had only been one of us insensitive enough to consider letting some air in.
Try hard enough and most people are fathomable but those who don't read for pleasure, choose to share their bed with a dog, or think it acceptable to let their progeny stand on bus or train seats are beyond my comprehension. But then again I hoard toilet rolls and tinned tomatoes as if the siege of Leningrad is about to befall me, and far worse than that I've been known to fart in supermarkets. For 2014, I suppose I need to become a kinder and less critical person and see all this as welcome variety in humankind's make up. Although no one ever, under any circumstances, should fart in shops, obviously.