The gale caused all kinds of trouble to the underground trains. When I got on at Newbury Park, there was an announcement that trains would be running slow today because there were trees on the track. It wasn’t too far after that accident, and the British Rail was running slowly as it is. Looked like the underground would match it. Then there was another delay — signal confusion this time.
But the cake was when they stopped the train because there was a ‘suspicious looking package on the track’. Now, I can’t imagine what brave soul decided to inspect it, before reporting after two minutes that it was ‘no longer suspicious’, but even less, what could have been in there.
The train problem wasn’t local to London. Carlos (another exchange student) was on the ferry from Calais to Dover, and the ferry was rocking worse than a plane in the middle of a big storm. Of course, people threw up on the boat more than the boat threw them up. By the time they reached Dover, the port was closed, and Carlos was stuck at Dover for 14 hours (with barely any food). He ended up a little late to class, unshaven. Apparantly the gale toll was pretty high.
But with all these heady issues, my time in the train was spent observing a character quite unconcerned with these proceedings. A 2-year old blonde boy (blue-eyed) was sitting next to his mother, reading a copy of the Metro (the local newspaper). I say “reading” because that’s exactly what it looked like he was doing. It was on his lap, and he seemed to be staring at it intently. From where I was sitting, I could read the headlines: “Oil Profits Soar to 10-year High”. Future oil-magnate, perhaps. A few seconds later, he lifted the paper carefully, turned a few pages (no kidding — he actually flipped them), came back to the front page, stared at one corner, and started biting it.
Now, that looked like a much more normal thing for a kid of his age to do. It wasn’t until I got off that I noticed what was on that corner of the page.
“Spice Girls Toast Their Ninth No. 1”