must be using some other Tube
system, one that is rightly off limits to people like me
. I’ve seen people smoking
on the Tube, both on the platform and on the train itself. I’ve seen people drinking beer, amongst other things. I’ve seen people not only playing tonsil hockey
, but getting down and dirty
in front of ten or twelve complete strangers.
I’ve seen, not once or twice but on numerous occasions, natives - not tourists, not with those accents - with their walkmen/CD players turned up quite loud. And more often than not, they were also singing. Just in case the tourists and other riffraff couldn’t quite hear the music clearly.
On one occasion I saw a nice group of local boys - I believe you folks call them “lads” - doing their best to clear the train of foreigners who could not follow the rules of Tube etiquette. They were doing this by taking turns hanging and spinning on the overhead bars. As each lad took his turn swinging, his friends - sorry, “mates” - called out encouragingly and fairly loudly to him, driving him to ever more impressive acrobatics. I think they must have had a wee bit too much to drink, though, as their performance was quite poor, and two of them actually fell on people who were doing their best to keep stiff upper lips and ignore the nice boys. (After all, London Tube etiquette does require that we not talk to each other, doesn’t it?)
And one beautiful spangled London night, I had the great honour of seeing a young guitar player sit down directly across from me and start fondling himself through the fabric of his trousers. Luckily for all of us, he didn’t mind us watching - at first he made an adorable pretense of shyness, hiding his passion with his bulky guitar case, but soon he cast it aside and proudly declared his great love for himself, getting right down to it. Such admirable enthusiasm these lovely Londoners have. They do no thing by halves, indeed. Unfortunately, I had to leave just then on urgent business, so I’m not quite sure how his little tryst ended.
Perhaps the rules are different in the mysterious alter-London they won’t let me into. Or maybe it's just that each man gets the Tube he deserves.
Yes, the London Underground is actually quite nice compared to some other systems. And yes, Londoners are usually fairly polite. But let's not get carried away. The Tube is made of people, after all. Sometimes it gets quite nasty. Like everything else in life.