I like trains. I don’t drive – for plenty of reasons – and so trains for me are kind of my (forgive the pun) ticket to freedom. They, are how I escape, visit people I love, return home after. Trains. I like them… What I don’t like however, is train stations. Train stations and the completely inexplicable and un-announced stops they seem to have to make in them. Stops in the countryside are normally ok, apart from the train from Nottingham to Lincoln which finds it necessary to stop nearly every journey outside a sewage station, most countryside stops are the equivalent of stopping the car to admire the view. But the un-planned stops in stations, are the equivalent of traffic jams; why they happen is beyond me, I will probably never find out, my journey is being unnecessarily delayed, and they make me want to hit people.
Out of all the train stations I don’t like, one right up there with the worst of them is Derby train station. Derby train station is green and dark and…not even a nice green, not verdant, or relaxing, no, the station is a maze of high standing MDF panels painted a particular shade of toxic blue-green than makes your eyes feel funny.
And I am sat. On a train. In Derby train station squeezing my eyes open and closed to try and counter the effect of the MDF maze when I see these people. These… men. I didn’t mean to spit that with so much venom, but… well, it’s the tall one that draws my attention first. He moved like a pigeon. I mean he’s normal looking- quite a standard, balding, be-anoraked train station hanger on. It’s nothing in his appearance that gives him his pigeon-osity. It’s the strut. He’s strutting and when he struts his head bobs, back and forth and, although I can’t hear a word, is clearly bobbing in time with the rant he’s expectorating with great force. His fellow pigeons meanwhile, shorter, with obviously cheaper anoraks, follow him, butt in with (what seems) encouragement, acquiescence, exalting his king-among-pigeon-men status.
Now I would have passed this vision off as vague toxic-green induced psychosis. I could have continued trying to read my book, or shifting in my seat, or wondering when the unannounced stop in Derby would possibly end and I would able to reach my destination. But the moment, my moment, was stolen back by this man, solidified. A middle aged Chinese woman appeared from some MDF obscured stair set, walking briskly, followed by her daughter and an attendant pointing them in their direction. It was then. They nailed it. Those pigeon men; they earned Derby the accolade of my most loathed station, lead by Mr. King-Pigeon as he fluently spun on his heel, steepled his hands, bowed his legs, protruded his front teeth and waddled after her, squinting. His friends laughed. She didn’t see. Then he turned, and started leering at me.
I like trains. Because the train took me away.