I get the impression that train managers have their favourite warnings to give during train journeys. There are a few standard warnings, but then there are the âWhere did that come from?â warnings.
Last year, a train manager came onto the speaker and talked for nearly 5 minutes about how important it is that we donât flush the toilet in stations. Saying it once, I can understand, but this guy wouldnât let it go. âI must stress that you must not flush toilets in stations. It is acceptable between stations, but not while stopped in a station. I repeat, that flushing toilets in the station . . . â and on and on he went.
Why canât I flush the toilet at the station? Is there a trap door that drops under the train and leaves a turd in the middle of the tracks? Is it so we donât have to stand on the platform waiting for a train while trying not to acknowledge the huge dump in the middle of the tracks? Toilet paper and all? If it is a trap door, why is it okay to do it while travelling through the residential areas leading into the city? If we arenât allowed to flush in the stations, can you still use the toilet without flushing? Do they just leave it there until the train leaves again and they can dispose of it away from platforms?
The only reason people run to the toilet before leaving the train is that the toilets at Paddington station cost 30p to use. 30p is not a lot of money, sure. But thereâs the whole problem of fishing around in your pockets for the right change when youâre dancing around with a full bladder.
Anyway, this is not about train toilets.
Last week, a train manager spent a few minutes explaining to passengers why it is a bad idea to put our head out the windows while the train is moving. It wasnât a joke, she was serious. I suspect someone must have done it and she saw him and didnât want everyone else to jump on the bandwagon. She talked at length about how close some objects pass to the train and how it could result in injury. We sat there, many people in their business suits and blackberries, being lectured to like children. It went on for over a minute. When she finished talking(âI must stress, once again, that you must not hang your head out of the train window while the train is moving. Thank youâ), someone sitting a few rows behind me added, âYeah, and donât mess around with the electric sockets.â