Thursday 15 February 2018

Rocking on a Train

Why is it that wherever I am, on a bus, a train, walking the dog in the park, or wherever, people always stop and have a chat with me. Complete strangers start a conversation about any subject and before long they tell me their life story. Do I have a face that says: " I am interested in you. Tell me about you"? Usually, I think I carry a face that says, "I am not in the very least interested in you. Please leave me alone and mind your own business." But somehow, this does not seem to translate with the people I meet and they tend to think I am interested in them.

The other day, for instance, I was sitting in an old fashioned train with separate compartments. My compartment was empty and I hoped I'd have some time during this long journey to finish reading "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo. As you know, it is a big book requiring a lot of patience, total lack of interruptions, and a long train journey from here to nowhere just to spend the time alone reading. Another big book which I had planned to read once is "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. I started it once or twice, but never managed it all the way through. Eventually, I saw the film on TV with the subtitles on; so effectively I can say I have read it.

Anyway, I had settled down on the train with "Les Miserables" and as the train pulled out of the station a man came into the compartment and sat opposite me. He wore blue jeans and a white T shirt. He had long hair, a beard, and I noticed on his neck he had a tattoo of a guitar. I glanced up to see him, then looked down into my book pretending not to have noticed him.

After a moment or two of silence he said, "Rock and Roll is not dead!"

I ignored him. But this did not satisfy him. He repeated, "I said Rock and Roll is not dead, mate. Did you hear me?"

I looked up and replied, "I did not know he was unwell. I'm glad to hear he has pulled through."

Obviously, he did not understand my sarcasm because he continued, "Long live Rock and Roll!"

I said, "Yes ... I agree."

He then asked me, "Who is your favourite Rock and Roll singer mate?"

For a start, I do not like being referred to as mate. I am no anyone's mate, or friend. Especially someone whom I have never met before and hope never to meet again.

It is like those people who phone you at home trying to sell you something; I think they are called telemarketer. They inevitably start by calling me by my first name and asking me how I am, have I had a good day.

My first instinct is to say, "Mind your own business about how I am; and it was a good day until now that you have interrupted my peace!" But my politeness comes to the fore and I mumble something or other inane; and before I know it the telemarketer is telling me his life story and how happy he is now since he has fitted the new triple-glazing windows to his house, (or whatever else he happens to be selling), and would I not like to be in similar ecstatic bliss by buying the same product.

I usually end the conversation short by saying it is not a good time to discuss purchases because I am totally distraught having just buried my pet wasp which I found dead early this morning.

Anyway, back to my train of thoughts which have been temporarily de-railed by my own interruptions. This guy in my compartment asked me who is my favourite Rock and Roll singer. My mind went blank and for some reason I said: "Bing Crosby."

He looked at me blankly and asked, "Is he solo or with a band?"

I was caught in my own tangled web, so I said, "He used to be with Bob Hope."

"Never heard of him. What song is he famous for?"

"He sang White Christmas with Danny Kaye!" I said unconvincingly hoping this conversation would end.

"Did they do Woodstock?" asked my rail companion. 

"Probably one of the supporting acts," I said with some authority.

"Great man," he said, "rocking all over the world!"

I looked down at my French book, "Les Miserables" and said, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!"

He said, "You what?"

I smiled and said, "Status Quo!"

"That's right mate," he replied, "Rocking all over the world!" as he got up and left the train which had reached his destination.


  1. Hilarious!

    "Another big book which I had planned to read once is "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. I started it once or twice, but never managed it all the way through. Eventually, I saw the film on TV with the subtitles on; so effectively I can say I have read it."

    I hope Tolstoy does not have Internet access in the afterlife. I think this would make him cry!

    1. Well Sandi,

      If Tolstoy has access to the Internet, perhaps he would smile, or laugh, at my books. They are far more cheerful than his.

      God bless. Thanx for visiting me.

  2. War and Peace must be on everyone's list to finish someday because I never finished it when I was reading it a long time ago. :)
    I would find it annoying to be sitting next to that guy too. Obviously he doesn't know music well. Thanks for the humorous story, I enjoyed it.

    1. Ah Bill ... the young generation do not know the good old days with Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and the like ...

      God bless you, my friend.

  3. We listen to 40s music in the car (Sirius XM) all the time. Love those old songs and singers you could understand!

    1. I agree Terri. They don't write them like that any more. These days screaming and jumping up and down is what they call music. I can get that after a bottle of whisky.

      God bless.

  4. I'm usually the one who starts talking to people BUT I can tell when they'd rather not talk and then don't. : )
    I've read Les Les Miserables and loved it. I also saw the musical and thought it was fantastic.
    I too have tried to read War and Peace a couple of times but just can't seem to finish it.

    1. War and Peace is such a long book, Happyone. And so is Les Miserables. Why do people feel the need to write such long books? Do they get paid by the word? Have you seen how long Dante's books are. And they are not even in English!

      God bless.

  5. An English major in my college days, but could never, ever get through Moby Dick. Never saw the movie either, nor did I attend Woodstock (thank the Lord), but I'm rockin' and rollin' in spite of it all!
    Thanks, as always for the laugh, Victor. Blessings!

    1. Hi Martha,

      There are so many books I have started and never finished reading. Somehow, the writer does not captivate one's imagination. Yet these books are considered by many as literary masterpieces.

      God bless you. Keep on rockin' and rollin'

  6. Funny story! I have to admit to being a rock and roll music lover myself, but, like you, I don't like people I don't know forcing me to talk to them.

    1. I like rock and roll too, Lois. I guess this man wanted to make a point that it is still alive - whatever that means.

      God bless you my friend.

  7. Thank you for the laughs! God Bless you!



God bless you.