Ageing by rail

The year is 2006. The month, November. The time, 16.55 (expected). I sit in my lavishly downholstered South West Trains bucket seat, accumulating other people’s dandruff from the headrest, and wonder how on earth my neighbour manages to snore, operate his Blackberry and emit a sort of whistling sound from an unknown orifice all at once (he appears to be attempting to orchestrate the Marseillaise for the Intestinal Discomfort, accompanied by the Polyphonic Ringtone). I don’t get the chance to ask, however, as he is soon distracted by the snack trolley, the inevitable Twix (“two, please”) adding a sort of projectile verve to his exhalations.

Manfully I drag my attention away from my overflowing companion, and return to my previous ponderings, to wit the fact that I am now 27. One age, indivisible. Tragic. Less time stands between me and my 30th birthday than I have spent on public transport*. I might turn 30 before I get off this train. By rights, I should be thinking about having a mid-life crisis soon, and I can’t afford a sports car. I can barely afford a Tonka Truck™. I have two fewer mobile phones than my neighbour (although why he needs to consult all three at once is a slight mystery). I do have considerably more hair than him, although by this point the headrest has ensured that a lot of it isn’t really mine. This cheers me nonetheless, although I worry that my inadvertent hairpiece will defect at the earliest opportunity; already my newfound strawberry blondes are shedding.

Realising my supposedly deep ruminations are getting continually sidetracked by the orca on my left, I attempt once more to focus. I fail. Apparently it’s quite difficult to review your life successfully without plummetting towards the ground at great speed or being otherwise terminally imperilled. Nor, it seems, does the slim possibility of contracting something nasty from the armrest qualify to have one’s life flash before one’s eyes. Perhaps if I ordered an egg sandwich … but no.

Sod it, then. I’ll think about it next year.

* I realise this is absolute cobblers, but work with me here.

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