Friday 25 June 2010


A certain amount of snobbery goes with the territory of owning a railway season ticket. As much as you try you just can’t help it. You have a tendency to look down on the occasional traveller. Those hapless individuals that are never quite sure of the rules of train travel. Those hapless individuals who get on the wrong trains and who when they get on the right train can’t understand the concept of sitting in the seat that has been reserved for them. The occasional traveller will stand out a mile. They are the ones with unruly baggage, unruly children or will have purchased a take-away coffee and or pastry from a station kiosk. Whilst I dislike all of them I find the last category pompous (I realise that there is an irony in that statement) and worthy of much ridicule. They think that getting on the train with a take-away coffee is ‘what you do’ no doubt they are trying to look cool, to fit in. Take-away coffee, I suspect, is seen by the uninitiated as a form of traveller chic. A must have accessory to facilitate blending in. A badge to say, “hey, look at me, I do this every day”. When in reality it says the opposite. Do you get the picture?

Today, part way on the journey from Norwich to Thetford, a twerp a few seats ahead of me chucked take-way coffee everywhere. The gormless one had clearly just taken the coffee out the brown paper carrier bag that reinforces the take-away status and had either squeezed it too hard or lifted it by the lid. The murky brown liquid went all over the table top in front of him soaking everything on it including the papers of a poor unsuspecting woman opposite him who was busy working away and minding her own business. He stood up, and as is usual with twerps, he just stood there not really knowing what to do. Finally his victim, the unfortunate woman with the coffee coloured work papers got up, went to the loo, and returned with some paper to mop it up. This then ‘inspired’ him to try and mimic the behaviour of someone with some common sense. Eventual the mess was cleared up and they settled back into their seats. Unfortunately my concentration had been broken and I found it impossible to go back to reading my book.

To be a bona fide twerp a person has to meet certain criteria. The list of possible attributes is as long as your arm but as ‘the twerp’ only has to meet a few there is little point in exposing the vast array of variables here. All I will convey are those attributes that qualified the above mentioned twerp to be a twerp. He scored heavily in the following way:

• Take-away coffee in a brown carrier bag
• He was wearing shorts
• He was wearing sandals
• He had no regional accent

I don’t like prejudice, and I know I shouldn’t really think the way I do about the person mentioned above, but it’s hard to think differently when you feel vindicated for holding such views.

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