This is probably going to be a really short Dollop, because I am out and have no time to write anything. My plan was to spend the train journey writing, but when I got on the train all the seats were taken – you’ll have to take my word for it, in lieu of CCTV footage. I know that Corbyn traingate jokes are a bit old hat, but I haven’t got the time to think of anything more original or clever – sorry.
Last week I managed to write a Dollop on a train with no free seats by finding some space underneath the luggage wrack and sitting on the floor with my laptop on my crossed legs, but this train was too packed to even afford me any floor-sitting space, so I had to stand whilst people jostled for space, rubbing themselves against me (so it wasn’t all bad).
I then had to wait at the station for my connecting train. I searched for a seat, but they were all taken. I needed somewhere to sit so that I could get my laptop out and hurriedly write today’s Dollop. I found a narrow metal bar. It wasn’t very comfortable, and it was angled so that I kept nearly falling off it, but, bloggers can’t be choosers. That’s a good line, I thought (something which I’m sure you also have just thought) I must remember to write it in today’s Dollop. I got out my laptop to make a note of my hilarious play on words and to make a start on the blog, but it was impossible; the bar was too angled, and the laptop kept falling off my lap. I would have to wait until I got on the next train, where I would have just half an hour to write something.
The next train did have seats free, but when I sat down, a new problem presented itself. There were no double seats free, only seats next to someone or shared table seats. I opted for one of the table seats, and was just about to pull out my laptop when …
“Lovely day for it,” came the elderly posh sounding voice of the man on the seat opposite me. I wasn’t sure what exactly the “it” was that it was a lovely day for, but I didn’t have time to get into a discussion about “it,” so I muttered my agreement as politely as I could. The trouble is that I am too polite and self-conscious to snub someone’s invitation for a conversation. Despite needing to get immediately to work on the Dollop, I nevertheless was unable to merely give a non-committed grunt, indicating to the man my disinterest in talking to him. Instantly I felt awkward and guilty about my lacklustre response to his friendly, “lovely day for it,” and my next course of action was to do all I could to redress my initial weak offering. Even though I knew that if I didn’t get this Dollop written on the train then I would have to do it while I was out, and thus be extremely antisocial, at least I’d be being anti-social with close friends, and that, for some reason, didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as ignoring a stranger’s small talk. My brain was sending me messages that this man and everyone in the carriage was looking at me and judging me as a dull, anti-social misery. It was now up to me to save the situation, turn it around, and show them that I was no such thing.
“Yes my friend,” I said with piles of enthusiasm, “it certainly is? So,” I clapped my hands, “To where are you bound, my friend?” I jovially intoned. No, now I’d gone too far the other way. I was sounding far too energetic and excitable for a casual bit of small talk with a stranger on a train. I’d tried to compensate for my earlier taciturn response, but had clearly overcompensated. I’d been far too loud and energetic, called him my friend twice, which was a bit desperate, and clapped my hands. Why had I clapped my hands? And why did I say, “to where are you bound?” Who says, “to where are you bound?” “Where are you off to then?” would have been more conventional, rather than loudly enquiring, “to where are you bound, my friend?” with great relish. I’d also employed a weird singsong posh accent; I have no idea why – maybe I thought it gave me a more cheery, friendly manner, but actually it just made me sound odd.
The man told me to where he was bound, and we fell into conversation. I instantly decided to ditch the weird posh singsong voice, assuming that he’d soon forget about it once he’d become distracted by my scintillating conversation.
Scintillating it wasn’t. My mind was on the Dollop and the fact that I was going to have to somehow write it while I was out, and ignore my friends. I have no idea how we got onto the topic, but he was talking about the fact that he had to buy a new pair of socks because when he woke up this morning he discovered that there was a hole in one of them. I then became aware of the sound of my own voice saying, “I always get holes in my socks. I don’t know how it happens. I don’t remember them having a hole in when I take them off, but when I put them back on again, there’s a hole.” What the hell was I blabbering on about? Both me and the man gave almost identical timid, joyless laughs. I’m not sure why we laughed, it wasn’t very funny, but I suppose it just felt like the right thing to do. If he’d said the thing about waking up to find a hole in his sock, and I’d have countered with, “oh, darn it,” then that would have been very different, then we’d have had good reason to laugh, but I was being altogether too dull for that kind of hilarious wordplay. I wondered what the other people near must think of us. They must think we were the most boring people on the planet. I expect that you are thinking the same thing right now, having just read this Dollop. Sorry. Anyway, I must go, before my friends disown me.