It’s Friday night and I’ve been out after work with some colleagues, a few drinks to celebrate the end of my project and people moving on elsewhere.
By 1030pm, I’ve had enough Peroni that safety my switch kicks in and it’s time to head for home.
I wander down to Argyle Street station heading back to Cambuslang.
The train arrives almost immediately and I board and notice that although it’s sparsely populated each booth is full apart from one at the end.
That will do for me!
As I get to the booth, I notice on the opposite booth a guy about 30, dark cropped hair, quite tall, just a little bit chubby.
I take my seat and face forward, pulling out my phone to check any messages.
Someone says “How was your night?” and I look round and the guy is looking at me waiting for a response.
It seemed rude not to reply.
“It was fine mate” and I look back at my phone.
Note the use of the word “mate” .. courtesous, friendly even although the context was brief and dismissive .. i.e. I’ll be friendly but I don’t want to talk.
“Did you do anything special?”
Ah, now more of an open question.
I look over and he’s waiting in a response, something about his body language perhaps his posture and slight slurring of words tells me he’s had a few drinks too.
“Just out for a few drinks after work” and I’m thinking please don’t talk to me.
I don’t know about you, I’m a friendly person and will generally chat to anyone, people often come and chat to me at concerts etc.
But right now all I want to do is go home and something about this conversation is already making me uncomfortable.
Only now it took a turn for the worse ..
The guy joins me in my booth, sitting directly opposite me, I’m loooking at his face, his brown eyes staring intently at mine.
“What’s your plans for the rest of the night?”
Hmmmm .. are you serious I’m thinking?
And I notice that he has placed his knee against mine.
Right .. guys tend to sit with their legs open, so was this an accident or was it an approach?
“I’m going home mate” and I move my leg away from his.
“What station is yours?” and he puts his leg back against mine.
Whit???? … Oh for fucks sake .. and I move my leg away.
So now I’m feeling creeped out and thinking, what do I tell him?
Do I tell him that the next station Cambuslang is mine?
What if he says that’s his too? Then I’ll be wondering if that is really his station or he is following me off.
What if I lie and tell him somewhere else and he then gets off at Cambuslang and thinks I’m following him?
Now I’m not going to cause a scene on a train with people all around .. but then .. why not? Wouldn’t it be better to cause a scene on a train with people around than walkign up a dark street?
My brain goes into threat assessment .. He’s about the same size as me, a bit heavier .. but I think I’d take him .. if it came to that.
But there is no immediate threat.so I decide to plau “nice” rather than telling him to GTF.
“Cambuslang, better call the wife to make sure she is picking me up”
And with that I move over to the opposite booth where he was sitting before moving to my side of the carraige and call my daughter Claire.
Poor Claire is almost sleeping and wondering whay I’m calling as I have this stilted onversation telling her that I’ll be in Cambuslang in a few minutes and I’ll see her soon.
The train stops and I get up, I’m the only person leaving the train, the guy remains seated, I’m facing front but my peripheral vision is monitoring.
As I walk up the ramp and it doubles back on itself, I’m checking the doors making sure there are no late exits .. I’ve already planned that if I get to the top of the ramp and he’s following me up then I’ll wait behind the wall then hit first and ask questions alter.
Fortunately that didn’t happen.
That was Friday night, but last night I was telling the story of how their dad got chatted up on the train to my kids as we had Sunday dinner together.
Laura my eldest daughters response “Welcome to my world”
Really I asked, is it as bad as that for women geting unwanted attention by strange men.
Apparently so .. and I wonder has it always been so or is it getting worse?