Sunday, 29 August 2010


I read an article the other day about living life more fully. It recommended looking at the person opposite you on the train and trying to imagine everything about them, investing them with a personality and a story, acknowledging them as a fellow human soul.

What a good idea, I thought, and so, settling into the carriage the other day, I focussed on the man across from me. He was at first sight, a fairly unprepossessing creature, but beauty isn't everything. It wasn't his fault he had a meaty face, very small eyes, hair sprouting up from out of his greying tee-shirt and a sort of warty growth just to the left of his nose. He was stocky and had very short legs too, but he was a person, with feelings. He had a life, he had a right to attention, just as much as anyone else.

That's what I was telling myself when he shoved his finger right up his left nostril. He'll stop in a minute, I thought, trying not to grimace. I was convinced it would be just a matter of moments, but he kept rootling about in there as the train passed through station after station. He may still be at it for all I know. I gave up. I have to admit it. Revulsion overcame me - he may be a fellow human being, but I'd forgotten how revolting we often are as a species. I got up and left the train and walked the last part of the journey. I didn't look at anyone I passed.