So, I don't want to start writing about trains all the time, since that's what my Twitter feed is for* but I did have an experience the other day that has inspired me to tack on a post-script to my previous entry on proper train etiquette (to see said entry, click here).
So, without any further ado, I present:
The Post Script:
The New Rule
11) Don't help.
In particular, don't help anyone less drunk than you are. There is a Drunk Train Chain of Command and the more sober you are, the higher up you are. If you're sober and see a lost, soused soul, it's okay to lend them a hand. And, obviously, if someone asks or you see someone in clear distress it's important to step in and assist. But if you're seeing double, leave those with 20/20 vision alone unless specifically instructed to do otherwise.
While waiting for my late Monday night train to leave the station, I embarked on my standard sprawl: purse, gloves, phone, glasses, coffee, snacks askew all over the seat. Suddenly, a gentleman appeared in need of a place to sit.
"I'm so sorry. I'm terribly sorry. I'm ruining your whole night," he said as I scrambled to contain my belongings. I assured him this was not the case, gathered my things and promptly went to sleep.
Some time later he poked me and said, "I think this is your stop."
Now, had I taken the time to fully wake up, I might have realized that my stop was the very last one so if it was my stop I needn't have rushed, and, at any rate, it hadn't been near enough time for that to be the case. As it was, I sleepily lurched towards the door and stumbled out. I dazedly looked around the foreign platform for a moment before gasping and hurling myself back into the train, just in time. I made my way back to my seat.
"That was not my stop," I said.
"Oh no. I'm so sorry. I'm so terribly sorry. I am so embarrassed. I've ruined your night."
Once again, I reassured him that this was not the case and he needn't worry, it could happen to anyone.
Some time later he told me where he was getting off, and told me he'd wake me when he left so I wouldn't miss my stop.
"You're so sweet, but mine is the very last stop so you don't have to do that. The conductors shoo us all out."
We chatted. I was polite. He was drunk and apologetic. I went back to sleep. Sometimes I think I get more sleep on trains than in bed.
At one point, I heard them call his stop in the background of my overtired brain. I assumed he got off. Until I heard him ask someone for a pen. "Gosh, thank you. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it." I briefly thought, 'he better not leave me a fucking note' before stubbornly ignoring him and staying asleep.
At the next stop he poked me and said, "I think you're next and also, this belongs to you." He handed me a fortune from a fortune cookie.
It said, "Thank you, it was nice to meet you, have this because I got it at lunch with wild hair** call me sometime!"
I looked at the clock. I had three more fucking stops to go.
So, in summation: respect the Drunk Train Chain of Command. The drunker you are, the less help/advice/poking*** you should be doing. Don't help.
*by the way, are you following me on Twitter? Because you should be. I talk about trains, farts, and whiskey.
**in bed with goats?
***Rule 12) Don't poke. Ever.