Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Morning Cringeworthy Tube Story

If you don't have any reading material during your morning commute, the tube journey can be somewhat awkward.  As you're sitting directly across from someone, it's nearly impossible to look straight ahead but then again, there aren't too many places for you to avert your gaze so you end up staring at the floor. 

So that's why I almost didn't notice it.  If the tube wasn't as busy and he wasn't standing with his back toward me, I would have easily missed it.  But there, on this man's navy blue Gap khakis (I only know they're Gap because John has the same ones), was a long strip of sizing sticker he had forgotten to take off.  W32 x L32, it said.  He took out his Blackberry, completely unaware.  I wondered if the woman sitting next to me, who seemed to be looking in the same direction, noticed.  'Someone needs to tell him,' I thought.  I cringed at the thought of him arriving at his office, saying his hellos, making his cup(s) of tea, chatting about his weekend, going to his morning meetings, all with this glaringly obvious sticker attached to the back of his leg.  What would I say though?  It would only be awkward and even more cringey for me to tap him on the arm and say, "Um, excuse me, um, there's a sticker, on your leg ..." on the completely silent tube, with everyone watching.  Maybe that would be even more humiliating.  What if he got angry?  What if he didn't appreciate the gesture and see it as instead, an attempt to make him look and feel stupid?  What if he told me to mind my own business?  Maybe someone else would tell him.  Maybe he would actually discover it in the next 30 seconds and discreetly take it off. 

But he didn't.  Instead, he sat down next to me.  'This is my chance,' I thought.  I planned it carefully in my head.  I'd turn and say, in a friendly but confidential tone, "Excuse me, can I tell you something?  You've actually got a size sticker still attached to your trousers."  I'd point to the offending adhesive patch.  He'd smile, say thanks, and peel it off.  We'd laugh about it and he'd thank me for saving him from further embarrassment.  I'd chuckle and say I've been there myself.  But the train lurched to a halt and a familiar pleasant but robotic voice announced, "This is Oxford Circus.  Change here for the Central and Victoria line."  I lost my chance.  He gathered up his backpack and walked off into the Monday morning workday, with that sticker still attached to his leg.  Sigh. 

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