Problem commuter


The sun has finally started shining in London. Yesterday B and I went for a walk in Richmond Park, in short sleeves! The weekend wasn’t all rosy though. B had a sad day on Saturday. ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘I have a brain tumour’. That kind of day. I discovered that all non-surgical options for my problem foot have been exhausted, and it will be operated on in May. To make things worse it was a 3 day weekend instead of 4, as I’m working Mon-Wed this week. The horror.

Consequently I was in no mood to take any crap on my way to work today.

There are many unwritten rules of tube travel. This is one of them: if you put your bag on the empty seat next to you (I say IF, as you really shouldn’t do this unless the carriage is near-empty) you move it sharpish the moment anyone approaches the seat.

I got on the tube this morning and there was one ’empty’ seat – with a bag on it. Imagine my surprise when the bag was still firmly in place as I sat down – only then was it wrenched out from under me by its owner, the Problem Commuter. A brief exchange followed.

Problem Commuter: “Excuse me!”
Me: “Does your bag have its own ticket?”
Problem Commuter: <stares at me blankly>
Me: “No? Then put it on your lap like everyone else.” <headphones on, conversation over>

Now, I realise that I broke an unwritten rule myself – one should never speak to a stranger on the tube. The person opposite could be on fire but the correct protocol is still to keep one’s eyes firmly on one’s Kindle. Nevertheless, I felt this situation justified the breach.

No need to fear for my colleagues. I’ve now had a cup of liquorice and peppermint tea and am feeling slightly less confrontational.




  1. Gillian · · Reply

    Ha ha . At hospital with hubby today….we live in spain….no oarking protocol. Was sitting with my indicator showing i was going in to a space a car was leaving. Some bastard spaniard thoughtnhe would go into it… i leaned on my horn and we both drove in..i won and couldnt have cared less is i ruined my car! Maybe i need some of your tea!

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