I previously wrote (I don’t know why you always make the mistake of thinking that any readers will remember. Ed.) about how long experience of the same commuter journey has meant that I know precisely where to stand on the station platform such that when the train arrives I will be standing directly alongside the doors and so be the first to enter the train. Well, there is a qualification to this statement. The fact is, I am never the first to enter the train.
It does not matter that I am standing directly in front of the doors, I can guarantee that someone will nip in before me.
Now, there is an etiquette when a train arrives at a platform. It is an etiquette so established in tradition, and one so eminently sensible that it needs little explanation. Allow passengers to disembark before attempting to board. I adhere to this rule as strictly––in fact, more strictly––than I do driving on the left-hand side of the road.
However, there is always one––sometimes several––traveller who will flout convention. Regardless of my obvious position of pre-eminence (in train-door hierarchy if nowhere else) there is a seemingly limitless supply of Johnny-come-lately queue-jumpers who will emerge from left, from right, from behind, to usurp my hard-won rights to the kingdom.
And, you can be sure, it will be the same self-serving psychopaths who will be first to leave the train again when it reaches its destination. The Titanic’s life-rafts would have been stuffed to over-flowing with the self-same bloodstock, while politeness died in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Women and children first? Not when it comes to the train-door leapfrogger. It is simply survival of the fittest and, as such, rudeness and impatience become our genetic legacy.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree is a genetic throwback.