The paragon of comfort and convenience that is the London Underground plays host to a fair number of oddballs, weirdoes and downright nut-cases. These mainly inhabit the central portions of the network. Unfortunately, living as I do,
out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable eastern end of the District Line, I don’t often come across top quality hatstand-ness.
This morning, dressed head to toe in black, big headphones on, and an ‘I’ve not had anywhere enough Tea this morning’ expression on my face, I get on the train and park myself opposite a rather inoffensive looking little old man. Had I had enough Tea, I might have spotted the warning signs before I sat down – the fact there was an empty seat anyway and they way everyone was avoiding any eye contact with the chap.
Just as I made to sit, the old fellow jumps up as if to make room for me, then sits back down saying “alright mate?” “oh, you can’t hear me can you mate?” “I support West Ham”. I say “oh, right – nice one” – I actually dislike football then pull my book out of my bag ‘Confessions of an English Opium Eater’ and start reading.
In the meantime the old boy has gone off about how everyone is listening to music, and turning away from god. I’m just thinking we have a ripe one here, when he spots the book title and starts up about drugs and the ills of the world, how god died on the cross for us (umm, wasn’t it his son? Or at most a third of god?), then really hits his stride mangling some quotations from the book revelation. Of course “no one reads it these days, but it’s all coming true y’know.”
Were I more awake and up for some fun I may have joined in haranguing the passengers with the old fellow, quoting from the Life of Brian, “For the demon shall bear a nine-bladed sword. Nine-bladed! Not two or five or seven, but nine, which he will wield on all wretched sinners, sinners just like you, sir, there, and the horns shall be on the head, with which he will…”
He got off after two stops, the rest of the journey in was pretty tame.