To bring a curtain rod on a busy commuter train is a risky proposition that should be avoided at all costs. That is, unless you are prepared. I was not.
|Mind if we sit together?|
I can with say with confidence that the brass finish on the expandable curtain rod did not match the hey-grab-me fluorescent green handrails attached to District line trains. I can also say that the beautiful decorative ends should have been a dead giveaway (i.e., such beauty is not part of a shady train). With this in mind, what happened was clearly not my fault.
With one hand, I gripped a vertical handrail while I tucked the curtain rod into my opposite shoulder. It was almost long enough to go from floor to ceiling. I tried to stay out of the way as the final passengers boarded. I smiled at my wife across the way and braced for departure from Sloane Square.
She was advanced in both age and weight. I saw her eyes dart about from one handrail to another as she shimmied onto the train. She chased an empty spot to grab a hold of, but lost out to more aggressive passengers. Panic started to creep into her face. She reached for a small bit of fluorescent green that poked through crowded hands. You can do it lady, I thought. Desperation replaced the panic when some punk beat her to it. The train doors beeped loudly, and then they shut closed. There would be no retreat. Surely, somebody had to help this old and heavy lady out.
I saw the flicker in her eyes first, and then I am pretty sure she bit her lower lip in anticipation. I thought she admired our selection, or at least the brass finish. Maybe it was the decorative ends? Boy was I wrong.
She inched as close to me as possible and reached over a man’s shoulder to take a hold of my curtain rod. I did not have time to react. Instinct took over and I tightened my guns, and for a brief moment thought that I could support her. Thank you, P-90X, today is my day to shine.
The break released, and both gravity and inertia quickly proved me wrong. She noticed the give before I had time to wipe the pride from my smile. I wish I could embellish, just a bit, and tell you that she rolled down the train like a bowling ball and knocked the remaining passengers down (all, of course, without injury).
Truth is that I held on for long enough to keep her steady as the train accelerated out of the station. It was not fair of her to look at me like I was a criminal, as if I planned this little mix-up. I did not ask her to grab my curtain rod. The amount of blood that gushed into my face had to be some sort of record. It wasn’t my fault. My wife laughed at me from across the train and the same young punk that shut her out before guided her towards his side of the train. He freed up some space and looked me right in the eye with disgust. It was not my fault.