Young Man of Eastern European origin
2 Young Men from South Wales
2 Old Dears
On a train from Bridgend to Cardiff, the air in the carriage is blue, fulminating and procrastinating they sit organising the world into compartments they can cope with, arranging society so it fits their understanding. The two young men from south Wales look on almost apologetically as these ‘Old Dears’ promptly allocate them a slot in their ordered understandable society framework.
I am out of view, hidden by the blessed chair back, saved from being pigeonholed, but my ears are not. Added to this distress they are treated to a cacophony of sound which can only be from the two Chinese girls on the other side of the train.
As suddenly as it all started the two Chinese girls go silent, lost in some magazine or entranced by their music on the ipod they share, I know not which as their table is littered with the remnants of a long train journey.
In the brief silence offered by the lack of Chinese speak, another conversation filters through.
‘If you haven’t a valid ticket you will have to pay again’
‘I have this ticket it was what they gave me, I paid £52 in London’
‘The ticket is not valid, you are going in the wrong direction, that is for London to Swansea, you are travelling the other way and this ticket is a single’
‘No it was a return, I bought it in London this is what I was given’
This continues round and round it goes, back and forth neither giving an inch, but neither getting angry or annoyed. The conductor is enjoying the chase of a ticket flout, the young man of Eastern European origin is content in the knowledge he is right and has a valid ticket.
Neither give ground.
The fulminating and procrastinating slows a little as this conversation connects with them, you can almost feel the wheels in motion setting up the preparatory arguments for pigeonholing this young man and his pursuer.
The train slows, draws into a station and a transport policeman enters the carriage.
The phrase is in everyone’s mind as the conductor pompously points out the young man of Eastern European origin
‘That’s the one, got im bang to rights I have, no ticket or nothin’ wont pay neither, got no money he says’
But the transport policeman beats him to it, and calmly asks the young man what the matter is.
Their discourse is lost as the fulminating two begin again.
Calmly and just as the two are about to escort the young man from the train, the two young men from South Wales get up and speak to the conductor and policeman.
The fulminating continues as the young man of Eastern European origin settles himself again in his seat and the two young men from South Wales share the cost of his train fare.
So goes Christ in the strangers guise and the thieves in an even stranger one!