Mick and I rode on a steam train today.
I was concerned when we arrived at the station because nothing had gone wrong.
Luckily as soon as we got out of the car I dropped my rucksack onto the sodden ground, instantly coating the part of the sack that fits against your back with a glossy layer of mud meaning that I couldn't put it against my ruck so I had to instead negotiate a handbag and an over excited two year old running at the trains as if he was on a mission. A mission of suicide. (For anyone who hates Mick - he did not die at any point during the day, you can stop reading now.)
It was like going on a normal train, only much slower and more uncomfortable and with no point to the journey and with a high proportion of men who look like this on the train, grasping protectively at their K1000's and looking scornfully at my 20D.
I plonked Mick in front of the steaming train and ran off to take a quick photo of him, hoping that he wouldn't fall down the tracks. I couldn't get the lens cap off the camera because I'd dropped it in the rucksack and bent the lens. Brilliant. I had a few seconds of blind panic and then managed to realign it by carefully pushing it really really hard with my fingers.
Upon boarding the train we were greeted by the sound of a three year old boy crying and crying and crying and crying and crying.
I looked over at another Dad with his three year old and we smiled at each other as if to say "Thank fuck it's not my turn to be humiliated publicly to the point of tears," (at least that was what I was thinking. He could have been thinking "I really want to kill my wife's new partner." for all I know) and said things to our children like "Can you see the Thomas engine?" every time there was a break in the incessant mantra of "I WANT THE THOMAS, I WANT THE THOMAS,"
I got talking to the other Dad when Mick and his child started playing Hide and Seek. As we watched the engine change over he told me that this was a bit of a busman's holiday for him because he works on the railways and that he was divorced.
To stop the kids from running back and forth and stamping all over the heritage leather seats I suggested that we sat together on the way back.
He explained that he had a new partner. I asked if his wife had a new partner too and he said "Yeah, that's why we split up." I did embarrassed laughing. He did well rehearsed eye rolling and humiliated yet accepting shoulder shrugging.
While I was nervously trying to think of what to say next he looked pointedly at me from the corners of his eyes and said "Every dog has his day."
I wan't sure what he meant. The only other person I have ever heard say "Every dog has his day," was Al Pacino in Scarface who said it just before trying to get off with his sister then inadvertently killing her then running around with a bazooka and a machine gun then being gunned down off a balcony into a fountain. (If you are doing a dissertation on Scarface and have found this information whilst doing research then it is an entirely accurate plot summary for Scarface. In fact, you don't need to bother referring to the film from now on, just cite this article.)
I did a bit of fake nose laughing and nodding then did looking over his right shoulder, out of the right hand window and across at my son, causing him to say "Every dog has his day. He's only 19. Bless him,"
I wanted him to stop saying "Every dog has his day," now because I wasn't sure what he meant.
I should have said "Do you mean you are going to kill your ex wife's lover or do you mean you are going to take loads of coke, try to get off with your sister then inadvertantly kill her then run around with a bazooka and a machine gun and get gunned down off a balcony into a fountain?"
Instead I just kept doing laughing and shrugging and looking at the children playing and thinking "Oh dear, I'm really not sure what every dog has his day means but I think it carries quite violent and bitter associations and I don't really know you well enough to be able to ask you to clarify things. I wish that I could use another dog based idiom to respond to you but I'm not sure that "Walkies!" would be appropriate in this situation."
Then he said to me "Are you married?"
I said "Yes."
He said "Yes."
I said "My wife and I get on quite well though. Sorry."
We both had a little laugh at that.
Then he said "Yeah, me and my ex-wife get on quite well too."
"That's good." I said. "What about him? Do you get on ok with him?"
I don't know what the matter is with me. I should have said something like "Can you drive a train then?"
"No, not really. not at all actually, in fact I nearly killed him once." He said.
"Oh dear," I said.
"Yeah, if it hadn't been for my son walking into the room, he would have been a dead man," He said.
"Can you drive a train then?" I said.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Mick and I rode on a steam train today.