Commuter Love – #12

Trains seem to have become extensions of the office for a lot of people. Especially the intercity to Sligo that I sometimes hitch a ride home on.

It’s one of the fancy new ones with the power points and trip switches so you can plug in your computer but not your hair straighteners.

There’s no plugs on the normal commuter trains. There’s sometimes no heat. Sometimes there’s no train. And there’s barely space to open a book never mind a lap-top.

On the fancy train it’s a different story and people come armed with lap tops with dingles, dangles and dongles hanging out of them.

So people are on their emails or on Skype or using the pinnacle of modern consumer electronics to play fullscreen minesweeper.


It does lead to some awkward moments and invasions of personal space.

People view the space up to the midline of the table as their rightful property. The back part of their lap top has every right to rest on that line. So does the person opposite.

And then comes the tilt in the screen. The tilt that’s needed to make the screen readable. Opposing screens touch. Everyone saw it, we just pretend it didn’t happen. It’s mere sabre ratlling. It’s like the bay of pigs all over again.

And in the unspoken and unwritten laws of train table ownership it’s not quite clear who has the right of tilt. I suppose it’s like those neighbors from hell who let their leylandii grow over your hedge and then you try and trim it back and it turns out you’ve no legal right and all of a sudden you’re putting out rat poison to knock off your neighbours dog and playing zeppelin at 4am to piss him off…

Something like that


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January 2011

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