Start the Week With Dirk


After a pause of some weeks, Dirk is back with a double helping from his "diary of an ordinary commuter." There's nothing ordinary about our hero I can tell you, he carries the standard for us all and dares to articulate all those dark thoughts that even the most Christian minded of us occasionally harbour against our fellow man.... or women.



"I think we're all a bit stressed at the moment and it wouldn't take much to nudge us over the edge.

Back in the calm of an office I can see why physical assault induced by the loud eating of crisps may not have stood up in court. I have nothing against crisps but would refrain from eating them on a train after dark, partly in consideration to other passengers and partly because I find myself very conscientious re the noise. I'd like to think the girl behind me was trying to be polite too but in carefully taking out each one in turn she merely prolonged the torture. 

 Giving each one a preliminary suck reduced the crunch, (I applaud that), and then it was back in for another rummaging cranckle. Polishing off the final one with a quick slick to each finger I thought that was the end of that but after a brief intermission she delved into her cavernous bag and started on a second packet. Why this should have such an effect on my blood pressure is a worry. This was not the Royal Opera House, this was not even the Remembrance Day 2 minutes silence and nor were we the Famous 5 crouched in hiding from the smugglers on Billycock Hill so why should it matter?  This was merely a train with several dozing passengers, but when the only other sound is snoring there's nothing so irritatingly intrusive as a writhing crisp packet.  

It could be that I am in need of therapy but my suggestion is to sell them in plastic bags, preferably soggy, or better still get it over with quickly and simply enjoy a potato


With several weeks of remission I was just wondering what had happened to Tourette's woman and then there it was in the background, that unmistakeable glottal stop feature which to the uninitiated is merely part and parcel of winter commuting with a carriage-full of assorted colds.

To the more experienced there's a world of difference, and just as a dedicated bird enthusiast can distinguish between the call of a swift and a swallow,(almost an accidental pun there),so I can tell the difference between a tickly cough and a permanent affliction designed to drive us all mad. This would be the inoffensive-looking lady with the velvet Alice-band, the sort you'd find yourself luring in towards the vacant seat if only as a trade-off versus a potentially-worse travel-mate.

It's not until she's fully settled that the vocal tic makes itself known and she doesn't know it but she gets my pulse racing for all the wrong reasons. If she takes to eating crisps I shall be driven over the edge into enacting my own version of Tourettes in its most coprolalic form.

It takes one to know one, and perhaps she'd understand if I blurted out a stream of invective. To avoid a scene maybe I'll just add headphones to my Christmas list."