Do not EVER use the Quiet Coach on a train. It is the loudest place on Earth. It's as if every single evil bastard moron that goes into the Quiet Coach has decided to treat it as a challenge: Let's see who can be the most annoying.
On my way to Newcastle I took my seat on the Quiet Coach so that I can read and work without being disturbed. Now, I know fully well that there is no room for silence or manners or respect or decency in the Quiet Coach but I always pretend that it's all going to be fine. I am always wrong. It is never fine. If I had a pound for every time I had to ask someone on the Quiet Coach to keep the noise down, I'd have enough money to hire a comedy writer to write a punchline to this sentence. The sign Quiet Coach is fucking everywhere you look but I just assume that humans get on board and think "I didn't pay all this money to read that sign" and therefore they have no idea that shouting down the phone, listening to loud, awful music and firing guns randomly are prohibited in this part of the train. They are the bulk of British people. Horrible, thick, lazy, selfish British people. Will someone please just invade us and save us from ourselves? PLEASE?
But there is one thing worse than the nasty fucks who don't give a shit about other people on the Quiet Coach and that is The Friendly Man.
God, I fucking hate The Friendly Man. The Friendly Man is an idiot who can talk for months about absolutely nothing at all while breaking the world grinning record over and over and over again. He winks and smiles and talks and has no capabilities to read body language. And I got stuck with the cunt yesterday.
Muki and I sat near him and his dead wife and immediately noticed that Muki had a bag of crisps. FUCKING BRILLIANT!, he must have thought. NOW I HAVE A SURE FIRE ICE BREAKER TO USE AND I CAN GIVE THESE TWO LUCKY TRAVELLERS THE GIFT OF MY POINTLESS CONVERSATION!!!!!
"What's for lunch then?", he said through his punchable smile.
I got slapped with the fear. Muki is a very friendly person and from nowhere The Friendly Man has decided to talk to her. This will be a nightmare. They will both talk to one another. They will laugh and chit-chat and he will offer her a Tic-Tac and they will become lifelong fucking bumchums and I will hate every tomorrow until the charitable kiss of death. But Muki knows her limits. She is friendly, not psychotic (people often get those confused). She saw his grin and his wink and went through his opening line again and again in her head. This man was not for her. You really have to take this very seriously, reader. When Muki, someone who loves EVERYONE, thinks you're a cunt then you most definitely are a cunt. She is an instant jury. She needs only seconds and if there is no good in you she will respond accordingly. For the first time since I have known Muki, she grunted in response to someone and got our her iPhone so that she could hide in it.
This didn't stop The Friendly Man of course. He is The Terminator of the train. Every time you think that he is finally destroyed he just comes out marching from the blazing inferno of tedium with a lovely big, metallic, cyborg grin on his face.
He sat there telling us about the way train seating should work and how he's staying with friends "oop t'nurth" (he couldn't say up north any other way, the fucking cunt), all with the absolutely insane belief that anyone at all would ever be in any way interested. Where is the guy in the Quiet Coach with a gun when you need him?
Finally a woman appeared and informed The Friendly Man that he was sitting in her seat. This was fantastic news for him because, although he had to move, it meant that he could talk to the woman and show her how unfunny and bastard boring he is. His dead wife stayed where she was but The Friendly Man sat right behind me and beside his next victim. All I heard was The Friendly Man bore on and on about blank oblivion while the man next to him occassionally went "Mmm". Why can't this cunt take the hint? Why can't he see that NO-ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT HIS OPINION. Why won't he just SHUT UP? Then he started talking to his dead wife which meant that he had to lean much closer to me, something he relished talking about. He basically said something about me and him being gay lovers in a way that suggested all gay people are fictional and homosexuality is too ridiculous to be true. I had no choice but to ignore his homophobia because another important issue had come up: his stinking breath. It was like he'd swallowed my Four Seasons shower cap.
Eventually he got his original seat back and started up our lovely chit-chat again. Muki and I had yet to talk about this man. Muki is never rude so she would wait until he had left before talking about him, something I always forget to do. We hadn't talked about him or worked out a plan on how to deal with him but from nowhere we acted as one. 12 years of knowing one another is now in action. We both ignored him and it was beautiful.
He spoke and neither of us responded. He spoke again and we just kept on reading and pretending he was as dead as the woman he married. "Hmmm.", he thought. "They're boring".
I told that story to someone in Newcastle last night and he laughed and said "You can't talk on the train? Typical Londoners". No, not typical Londoners. Typical fucking idiots. If someone is reading, DON'T TALK TO THEM. If someone has their earphones in, DON'T TALK TO THEM. If someone is sitting in front of you with a grin that lasts forever and you see they're about to talk, RUN. This is MY head, YOU aren't allowed in it.