Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Railway Sleepers

I get on the subway at Buchanan St. and look at my preferred seat, which is the short bench at the end of the carriage. There's a man lying down along it and he's got a small boy, a toddler, lying on top of him. They both seem to be asleep, well, not sure about the man but the child definitely is. On the floor is an open can of ginger and a plastic tesco bag and sweetie papers scattered around. Two old women sit across from him and seem to be looking at him benevolently - probably because of the child element.

A woman gets on at the same time as me and sits in the seat opposite, opening her eyes wide and smiling in a sort of disbelief. She shakes her head slightly and I nod in agreement.
"Check that." she says, and I reply, "Yeah, make yourself at home."
We look over at him again and as the train pulls out of the station she says, "How will he know when he gets to his stop?"
I shrug and suggest he's just lying there going round and round the subway circuit. If he doesn't get off at Govan, then that is what he's doing, cos that's as far as you'd go without being quicker going on the other circle.

At Partick, the old ladies are getting off and one of them leans over and says,
"That's us at Partick, son."
He opens his eyes and grunts something at her and then puts his hand down into the plastic bag. He brings out a packet of fruit pastilles, tears down the wrapper, throwing paper over the floor and shoves a couple in his mouth.

My friend opposite looks astonished and is laughing a bit and I am too but I am also annoyed at this dirty article.
"Hope he's going to pick his rubbish up," I say, "Why don't we get him chucked off the train?" but of course, we're not going to cos this is the modern world and we're not getting involved.
"Some people are really strange." she says, "What's he doing?"
I roll my eyes and she shakes her head again and we both laugh.

Along the row from her, sits a man who catches my eye. Well, his rings are what catch my eye first. On both hands he wears large gold sovereign rings and what I would call 'knuckle dusters'. Yes, both hands, on every finger. He is 50-ish and wears a black shirt, black trousers and a black leather waistcoat. A black cap covers his greying hair and at his feet lies a black holdall. He's got a wild west look about him, probably due to his long moustache. My interest is now taken up by this new character who is more interesting than a sleeping man and child, who, after all, are just sleeping.

He gets off at Govan and as we stand on the escalator, I wonder if the holdall contains a sawn off shotgun. He strides off into the scheme at Napier Place and I watch till I can see him no more.

The sleepers stay on and continue their journey hurtling through the dark underground tunnels of the Glasgow Subway.

1 comment:

Lady Harriet said...

hahaha you checkin out the guys on the subway ladygovan! you should have got his number if you were so interested! hahahaha! and that poor soul sleepin! maybe the wife threw him and the child into the street! and theres you complainin about him goin round and round on the subway! thats what i'd do!