Thursday, 15 February 2018
Rocking on a Train
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.