Went to London. Got on the train at Lewes. People sat down, opened books. Woman opposite me was dozing. I flipped through the paper.
Haywards Heath. A couple of people got on, sat down. Somebody started talking on a mobile. She was full-voiced, but friendly. I tuned her out. The drinks trolley came past. I got a can of Guinness. At Gatwick, the passengers were rumpled, tired, humping great wodges of luggage. They sat, smiling, checking everything.
The big change happened at East Croydon. It always does. The East Croydon people are anxious, tooled up, heavily perfumed, a lot of bling and nervous aggression, phones snapped open like weapons. They jabbered on, wanting something to happen, and it wasn’t happening, and they were edgy, tapping their feet.
And then Victoria. I got in the taxi queue. People were electrified with anxiety, wolfing their cigarettes, double-inhaling. The guy behind me gave me a push. He wanted me to run down the line of taxis, and take my place, so he could run down and take his.
I said, ‘It doesn’t make any difference.’
He was fraught. There was something rat-like about him. He pushed me out of the way and scurried into the taxi behind mine. I watched him, a coiled, fetal shape in the back seat.
London, I was thinking. Get me out of here, I was thinking.


Phoney War: in London they jab them like weapons