Coming back home on the tube tonight, I met a man who tried to do the human race a favour by removing himself from the gene pool, using alcohol as his tool of choice.
I first noticed him when, on a nearly empty train, he lurched over to my area of the carriage and sort of hung over me. I glanced up at him, with a look calculated to convey a message along the lines of “my personal space ends about a metre beyond where you are now”, which seemed to work because he backed off.
A few seconds later he decided to sit down - I say “decided”, actually it had more to do with a sudden change in the train’s velocity which caught him off balance. I had cunningly placed my man-bag on the seat next to me so he careered into the seat beyond that.
He then did his best to engage me in conversation. Conversation, that is, in the form of Antipodean grunts. I believe he used the word “brethren” a lot although I couldn’t be sure. Again, cunningly, I had my iPod(tm) headphones in, so I could pretend I didn’t hear anything.
At Earl’s Court, the train filled with people, and a girl sat down on the previously empty seat between the hero of the story, and me. I instantly felt guilty, mainly because of the pungent odour he was emitting, and thought about offering to switch places with her, but it was too late. He had already started making his “moves”, which consisted of the following conversation:
Him: “Hello gorgeous.” Her: “You stink.” Him: “Oh.”
She got off at the next stop.
The rest of the journey was spent with him trying to come up with increasingly desperate insults, I assume directed at me, although because the motion of the train had a direct effect on his ability to stay in his seat, the insults could have been directed at the floor, it was difficult to tell.
He went through the basics: “you’re bald” (true), “you’re wearing a checked shirt” (also true), “Mr. iPod” (clutching at straws). My personal favourite, and the one that I feel summarises his ability to stay in the gene pool, was his critique on the copy of New Scientist that was I was reading:
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