Thursday, February 25, 2010

The trials of eating on a train.

Every now and again I have to eat on the way home from work so that I can get out quickly to get to a meeting on time. The other day I picked up a Big Tasty Meal from McDonald's. Now, the key to eating a McDonald's on the train is to get your meal early, allowing yourself enough time to obtain a good seat.

By a good seat I mean one at the end of a carriage that has the back of the next seat facing you – not an open 4 seat space with another passenger facing you. The 2 seater space is perfect, because if you sit in the window seat, not are you hidden from most other passengers while you eat, but you can also wedge your coke or milkshake between the wall and your seat – freeing up a much needed hand.

However, due to McDonald's not anticipating my need for a Big Tasty (without bacon) I had to wait a good while and so only just caught my train. And so there I was, surrounded by passengers all wishing I wasn't unpacking my freshly cooked junk food. There was one window seat left and so despite the obvious annoyance and overspilling bulk of the large man sitting in the seat next to it, I squeezed myself into position and filed my drink in the aforementioned holding place.

I pulled out the fries and began to unpeel the ketchup. But due to the large man occupying more seat than he had paid for and the resulting awkward angles of my arms, the sauce somehow flipped out of my hand, narrowly missing my jeans and ended upside down on my cleverly concealed drink. This was not ideal. To execute a clean-up exercise was going to be tricky and embarrassing. So I took the option of pretending it hadn't happened - and thankfully so did everyone else. Bless the English.

And so I munched my way through my meal, desperately wanting a drink, but fearing the mess that would result. The Big Tasty itself was also tricky. It had been blessed with an over generous portion of lettuce and the sauce was belligerently refusing to stay in the bun. Such was the spectacle, that an elderly gentleman could stand it no longer and held his newspaper absurdly high in protest, using it as makeshift barrier to block out the eating disaster that was occurring in front of him. I felt bad, but what can I say? I was hungry, the food was playing up, I was squashed and my drink was disabled.

Still it could have been worse – the ketchup could have landed on the big man next to me. I'm sure his manners wouldn't have been so English then.

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