L’Homme Du Train

July 8, 2010

Today I boarded a train, heading north for work, only to find someone sitting in the seat I had reserved. A fifty or sixty –something gentlemen, with white hair and beard, and dressed rather smartly.

Me:      Hi. I’m sorry, I think you’re in my seat.

Gent:    Ah, this is actually coach A.

Me:      Er, yes. My reservation is for seat 3, coach A.

Gent:    Right. Ok. Well I need to be here.

Me:      Why?

Gent:    Because I’m very tall: six-foot-three.

Me:      …

Gent:    I have very long legs.

Me:      Ok, but there are other seats you can sit in. And that’s the seat I’ve reserved.

Gent:    Would you mind sitting in my seat? It’s just over there.

Me:      … There’s someone sitting in it.

Gent:    Just ask him to move. Explain that it’s my seat.

Me:      Ok, sorry, I don’t think that’s appropriate. Besides, I specifically reserved a table seat because I need to work.

Gent:    That is a table seat.

Me:      No, it isn’t.

Gent:    Yes it is. It has a little fold down table in the seat in front. They all do. You just pull it down.

Me:      Well, sorry, that’s not what I call a table seat. I can’t work on it.

Gent:    Right. So I’ll just stand shall I? I’ll pack up all my things and I’ll stand for the whole journey. Just pack up.

There followed a series of exasperated, very audible sighs as the man packed away his things and readied himself for the upheaval. At one point he caught the attention of the lady opposite, and made a grand, dramatic gesture of rolling his eyes.


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