I went to York for the night yesterday to enjoy the company of some friends, watch the latest cut of a short film I helped out on and dance most disastrously in the company of girls I imagine were really very uncomfortable but whose fears were promptly assuaged by my brick-like ability to fall flat on my ass atexactly the most embarrassing moment.
Which is all preamble to the fact that I got a train back to Scarborough today. As I sat down I got a call from my older brother, who as it turns out was on the carriage in front of me with his girlfriend, coming back from their holiday in [INSERT UNBEARABLY HOT PLACE HERE]. My heart sank ever so slightly as I realised it would be impolite not to go sit with them.
Given the choice, I’ll travel alone. It might just be me, with my natural fear, distrust of and general irritation caused by Other People (ergh!) but I hope it’s more common than I think. I’m talking about a commute or a cross-country train journey, not hitchhiking across Eastern Europe or a trek across the Sahara. In those cases I’d more than welcome a friend (preferably with an unlimited credit card and/or an ATV) for the journey. I like the pleasure of being able to sit down somewhere and not necessarily do a great deal without feeling any guilt about it ’cause, y’know, you’re actually headed somewhere. Perversely, however, I seem to get most of my writing and reading done on the train.
Which is why I was a little miffed about having company. That and the fact of being stuck in one place with people for an extended period, which can lead to a condition known as awkwardness, often exacerbated somewhat by my neurotic and fractious nature.
Don’t get me wrong – I like my brother and get along with him and his lady just fine, but I wouldn’t call him a friend and keeping up a conversation with one of those for 45 minutes can be tough. The most I could manage was vague holiday talk. Know this: I do not come from a family of conversationalists, and unfortunately, stimulating it was not. So at an opportune moment I did the only humane thing and put the talkfest down by reading a comic with swearing and boobs in. Like any well adjusted, reasonable person would.
And the most perfectly ironic thing? I was supposed to get the train that left two hours before because I’m incapable of being on time to anything. I missed two trains so I could resent talking to my brother.
But everybody gets that, right?