wild pigs and standing room only


You’ll go under if you’re not careful. No one will care that you’ve fallen beneath the train, as long as they’re all sardined packed and on their way home. They’ll write about you in the papers the next day, and wonder how you got down there. They’ll call it suicide. A yobbing. Maybe just too much Pinot Grigio. But those of us rushing through the station to catch the 5.41 will know.

Trying to get standing-room-only on a train headed west just after five is not for the faint hearted. If the lady with the fake Fendi or the guy in the dirty tweed can knock you out of the way and use your head for a stepping board, they’ll do it.

Three times I’ve almost fallen into the crack between the platform and the commuter nightmare – courtesy of a good hard shove. I’ve battled my first two ‘pushers’ many a time: an insurance broker who I call Otis (Lex Luthor’s dimwitted sidekick) and a banker with a bad hair cut. The third perp Ive not seen since the morning he tried to shoulder me into the hole and under the carriage.

I tried being nice – in the beginning. Southern manners and all that. Oh you first. By all means. No not at all. It’s ok. I’m in no hurry. blah blah blah. Nice gets you left on the platform, apologising to the office. So sorry. Be there soon. Sometimes it gets you fired.

These days, its different.

I look ’em straight in the eye. Let ’em know whose boss. They may be public transport veterans, but I’m an old cow hand who grew up on a farm herding cattle through briers, branches and creeks. I’ve stared down running bulls. Been drug by a stud horse. Chased after wild pigs.

Office workers don’t scare me.

Now that I know the rules, I shoulder with the best of them. I hold my bag tight. Brace myself like a defensive lineman. Growl when I have to, snarl when I don’t. Ain’t nobody keeping me off that train. I’m going home.

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