Being totally dependent on London public transport has brought me closer to one of the greatest scourges of modern civilisation. I speak, of course, of mobile phone etiquette or, more correctly, the lack of it. Remember the old days when private conversations were, what’s the word I’m looking for here … private? Not any more. Catch a bus or train, or even sit down in a restaurant, and chances are within minutes you will be assaulted by the sound of someone yelling at a piece of plastic.
On the scale of rudeness, I rank it just slightly below people reclining their airline seats seconds after takeoff and leaving them down for the entire flight. In some cases, higher. A few weeks back I caught a train from a country town to the city. It was a nice, quiet, relaxing trip for all of about five minutes. A woman sat behind me and started speaking in Spanish at top volume into her mobile. Annoying? Oh yes, but the best was yet to come. She got tired of holding the phone, so she PUT IT ON LOUDSPEAKER. For the next hour-and-a-half I was treated not only to the sound of her screaming at her unseen friend, but of him screaming back.
Happily, it’s not all bad. Last weekend I was joined on the top deck of a bus by a young woman who rang to give her aunt an update on her wonderful life. Her job is going well (they’re moving into bigger premises), she’s moved into a new flat (they get a cleaner in every day), and she’s making soooo many friends. But the big news is Robbie. They’re not boyfriend and girlfriend (well, they are, but they’re taking it slow). He used to play professional rugby in France, but he hurt his knee. Now he works for a company that sells 3D technology. His dad has his own business in Switzerland and his mum is bonkers but sweet and … unfortunately, that’s where I had to get off. I’m catching the same bus next week. Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out.