Tube Guy

Tube Guy

I feel I need to explain as some of you think I’m an ungrateful bitch. I am but, that is not always the case.

Sunday I got a facebook message inviting me to an impromptu lunch. Always grateful for an opportunity not to burn something at my own place I happily accepted. I didn’t have long and rushed into my boiling shower. The water was freezing. What! I ran scenarios of calling British Gas but knew it would be days before I saw them. So I rushed to the kettle and had to have a kettle basin wash. All of those holidays with the grandparents with no running water or electricity finally paid off. 10 minutes later and the hot water was working fine. What the ….. my boiler and I need to have stern words.

Anyhoo, by the time I got to the tube I was flushed but well scrubbed. I got onto the tube and a man got on and sat opposite me. I didn’t notice much about him except he had a jumper wrapped around his waist. I don’t understand this look. He also had a baseball cap on and was rather pale. I took out the synopsis I’m working on and began writing not taking note of much else. Soon I was deep into music and how my protagonists were going to sleep together then go back to hating each other in the morning.  At my stop I got off the tube as did he. I walked towards the stairs and heard someone call from behind me.

I turn startled and assume the defensive stance. I’ve watched the Equaliser. I know that empty tube stations can be dangerous. I’m not going out like that. Not at Stamford Brook.

woman clutches purseIt’s the guy from the tube. He says, “Sorry. I just wanted to say you have beautiful skin. I just needed to tell you that.” I say thanks and relax my pose. He then gets back on the tube on a different carriage and zooms off towards Richmond.

I don’t have beautiful skin. I find this a strange compliment in and of itself but, whatever. Maybe it’s a racial thing and he feels the need to say something about my skin. I really don’t know. I can’t over analyse what he meant. I don’t understand men let alone white men who wear their jumpers around their waist

But I can over analyse how he did it. My point is that it’s nice to receive compliments of course but, why do we as people feel that our need to share is greater than the safety of others? Obviously I wasn’t in any danger but approaching people from behind is already not a good start. And why did he feel the need to follow me off the tube to share? He could have said it when we were both waiting for the doors of the tube to open. I don’t know. Maybe the world is just so unsafe that some of us would rather not be complimented by strangers. About anything.

One day nobody will compliment me and I will get a cat. Yes I know my precious, some of you would say I should be happy that I get any compliments at all but to be honest when one is walking in the street you just want to be left alone. I live in London, a city renowned for people leaving you alone as you go about your business. No friendly chatter on the tube. I love that about London. Please don’t take that away from me.

Is it just me?

© Chelsea Black


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