Planes, Trains and Automobiles: More Idiot Travel — Part 2

Trains

On the same trip I’ve referenced a million times (because it was the only overseas trip I’ve ever gone on), we took the train only a handful of times. For the majority of our trip, we had a car, but we weren’t crazy enough to drive in London, so we took the train to and from Oxford when we didn’t have our car.

The train trip to Oxford from London was so pleasant. Idyllic even. The train was barely at half capacity, and we were seated across from a friendly couple from Denmark. We had a great time chatting and it made the trip really quick and painless.

The train from Oxford to London was a whole other story.

The train station in Oxford was balls to the walls insanity. It was packed. There wasn’t one seat to sit in and if I’m remembering correctly, you had to pay to use the restrooms. It was not my favorite.

When we finally got onto the train, we saw that, just like the station, it was packed.

I had booked our seats in advance and upon seeing the Mad Max situation that was our train, I was pretty grateful for my forward thinking.

However, when we had finally clawed our way to our seats, dragging our bags with us as there was no more room in the baggage compartment, we saw that an older couple was in our seats.

They were adorable. I mean, gray hair perfectly coiffed, matching linty sweaters, and they totally had Kleenex up their sleeves for later. They were the epitome of what every loving grandparent has ever looked like since the beginning of time. Well, ever since easy wear sweaters came into fashion.

We were in a real conundrum. We had two choices: Kindly ask the couple to move or schlepp ourselves and our bags all over the train looking for two empty seats that didn’t exist.

Even worse, there were people behind us trying to get by and there was nowhere to sidle over to as we discussed our game plan. It was act or be eaten by the angry, over-it people lining up behind us.

“OMG. What do we do?” I asked with a deer-in-headlights look on my face.

“I don’t know! What do we do?” Answered Friend, looking pretty freaked himself.

I don’t know. What should we do?” I repeated with more desperation in my voice.

From somewhere nearby came a voice that said, “If there are people in your seats, bloody well tell them to get out of them!”

We both looked at each other like, “OH GAWD”.

“OK. Go tell them. It’s your turn to do something embarrassing, ” I asserted (It was me who had to ask the cop in Blackpool for directions).

“No way. You’re closer and I don’t want to be an asshole. Look at them. They are Mr. and, the less well known, Mrs. Rogers!” He exclaimed.

“But, I was the one who had to go out of my way to reserve seats so that we would be sure to have seats. It’s your turn.” I proclaimed.

Another phantom voice rang out, “OMG. Sit or MOVE!”

“I’ll just go sit on my luggage by the door,” decided Friend.

Out of nowhere, a voice again, “You can’t do that. You’ll get caught and told to find a seat.”

The people behind us were, at this point, ready to murder us.

It looked like we really had no other viable option as we were blocking the aisle and the man to my left had had enough of having the side of his face smashed into the ten-days-not-washed ass of my jeans.

Just like always I had to be the adult in the situation.

I sheepishly cleared my throat and tapped the woman, who looked just like my grandmother, on her shoulder, prepared to be forever cursed by karma.

They ended up being really sweet, which only made things TEN MILLION TIMES WORSE.

I still, to this day, think of them and hope they found a seat or someone who wasn’t as big of a cunt as my friend and I offered their seats to them.

DON’T HATE ME. I WAS A TRAIN VIRGIN UNDER PRESSURE.

While I was majorly feeling the effects of being a terrible person, my friend seemed pretty lost in his thoughts, too.

Once we were situated, the only place left to put our bags was right next to the exit as this was as close to the baggage compartment as physically possible.

Instead of worrying about what an asshole he was for making me kick grandma and grandpa out of their seats, he was more concerned for our luggage.

“Look at our luggage. The next time the door opens, they’ll all go tumbling out. Just watch.” He ruminated.

“Mmmhmm,” I was too wrapped up in silently chastising myself.

“OK. I’m going to go stand by our luggage. I can’t take the stress anymore,” Friend said, throughly wrought with worry.

I didn’t even care about my luggage, because kicks-old-people-out-of-train-seats people don’t deserve luggage.

“I’m gonna do it,” he said again.

“You’ll get in trouble by the train police, but have at it, dude,” I said totally not caring.

For the first time in my life EVER, I was not the one who was worrying and obsessing.

It felt amazing.

I didn’t give two shits if my luggage full of dirty underwear got kicked out of the train or stolen by someone who would be very, very disappointed by my Target-special clothing.

My friend piled up our luggage, biggest to smallest and leaned on them the whole way to London. If someone walked by, he’d hug his body closer to the tower of American Tourister like he was guarding the secret to the afterlife in between his barf-stained jeans (hang tight for that post) and his questionably clean socks.

When we were nearing Paddington Station, he sidled up to me as I was peacefully resting my eyes (I’d finally accepted my dishonorable deed as a necessary evil of train travel, because the mean train people made me), and whispered in my ear, “I have an idea.”

I almost jumped clean out of my stretched-from-too-many-Magnum-bars-and-cheese-and-tomato-sandwiches skin.

“WTF is wrong with you? Only creeps whisper in people’s ears while they’re resting on trains minding their own business,” I hissed.

My comment didn’t faze him.

“I know how we can both get ourselves and our luggage off the train in one piece.”

“Kinda like how we got on?” I didn’t understand why he thought this needed a game plan. We’d trip over our luggage and our feet like we had getting on like total tourists. Duh.

“No. It’s genius. First, I’ll take my big bag-that’s the size of your small bag, by the way, and your big bag-the one I vehemently swore I’d never help you carry, because you just keep cramming new stuff into it and it already weighs more than a standard-sized car. Then, you’ll grab my small bag and your small-not really small, though, bag and we will all get off this god-forsaken train together,” he said resolutely, but with a noticeably twitching eye.

The rest of the ten or so minutes of the train ride, he kept pantomiming, with overly expressive eyes and wild arm movements, how this “genius” plan of his was going to look. He legit looked like that crazy person every train has.

Crazy person*

Someone even asked, “Who the fuck is that idiot gesturing to? Do you think he’s dangerous? Should we be worried?”

I just sat back and reveled in not being the worried, crazy one for once.

We did get ourselves and our luggage off the train, but I almost didn’t “mind the gap” and our attempt to not look too much like tourists, was wrecked by yours truly.

Looking a lot less psycho-on-a-train

Looking like someone who is happy to not be on a train with a psycho

*I’m not some asshole who posts embarrassing photos of others for my own selfish gain. I was given express permission** to share any photo and/or embarrassing story, because friend-in-story would “probably find it funny too”. That’s a pretty solid assurance if I ever heard one.

**For real, I really have permission!

Author: fattymccupcakes

Just a thirty-something girl trying to love herself the way she is: fat, rolls, cellulite, and fabulousness.

45 thoughts on “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: More Idiot Travel — Part 2”

      1. Question: if they weren’t elderly, would you have reacted the same? If not, then that’s rather ageist of you, don’t you think?? I say fuck ’em! I don’t care if you’re 10 or 110… if you’re not following protocol and are inhibiting me in any way, then we’re gonna have some issues.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I honestly think I would have handled in the same way, because we were train newbies and didn’t really understand. I thought at one point that maybe reserving seats means something different in a train, the U.K., etc. I agree, though, it doesn’t matter how old you are, if there’s a rule, follow it!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. OMG Bless your heart! But I wouldn’t really be too hard on yourself about the elderly. To be honest, you had reserved your seats before the train ride. Therefore, they shouldn’t have really been sitting if they didn’t have seats. That’s just being a nice person and not stealing someone’s seat. But then again, I may be numb to the ways they act across the pond. But I will now know to make sure I reserve my seat on the train!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. When I really got to thinking about it, I had reserved those seats so we would not be in the predicament we were in. So, I also felt pretty annoyed at them for causing a whole, embarrassing scene 😂😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Umm, just be leery of the Cocoon Police. They will come for you at the crack of dawn and shuffle you off into a Buick. You’ll be blindfolded (a sleep mask) and taken to an undisclosed location (Palm Springs). They will subject you to sleep deprivation while they show you countless Polaroids of family members- each Polaroid has a ten minute explanation as to what’s going on. And then you’ll be fed bran and fiber without a net . .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Honestly, I would have gotten off the train, waited until it left, then gone to the ticket counter and told them I missed my train and needed to be put on the next one before I ever asked an elderly person to move from my seat. Of course, I also would have been seething mad the entire time, complaining about entitled old people thinking they aren’t beholden the Rules of Society just because they’re old.

    Being a decent and rational person is somewhere between being a total push-over and being a complete asshole. I haven’t figure out how to bridge that gap, so I just try to do both at once, so that way NOBODY WINS.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally get that. It was AWFUL. On one hand, I felt it appalling I asked an elderly couple to move. On the other hand, I was mad that the advance prep I made was for naught.

      We couldn’t have gotten off the train, because by the time we had made it to our seats, the train had already started moving.

      I still laugh about the trip, though, because my friend was such a freak about the luggage 😂😂.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seriously, what’s the point of purchasing seats in advance if anyone can sit in them? I feel like there should separate train cars for reserved seating and standby. Right? Am I crazy?

        I would probably be the same way as your friend. I’m super paranoid about my stuff. If there’s a situation where I have to leave my bag somewhere away from me, I’ll CONSTANTLY look over to make sure it’s still there and no one’s getting into it! XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t get it either! One of my British friends just commented, though, and said that lots of reserved seats end up being empty, so people take the risk to sit in them, but if asked to move, they are totally cool about it, because they know they are sitting in a reserved seat. Makes me a feel a ton better!!

        I would normally be just like he was, but I was too busy obsessing about how I was an evil person 😂😂😭😭😭😭😭

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh God, Oxford station is shit. I think I’ve probably told you before that I’m from Oxford, so I know that station well. Oh by the way, most train stations in the U.K. charge for you to use the toilets. I know, it’s ridiculous. And yeah that journey between Oxford & London is so often packed. It’s horrible. Glad you made it off the train in one piece. I kept on imagining that old couple were my parents for some reason haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OH NO! Don’t imagine they are your parents! I saw you parents on that video you posted and I ❤️ them!! 😭😭😭😭

      I’m so glad it wasn’t just our perception that that station was INSANE!! Since you know Oxford well, do you remember or know of The River Hotel?! That was an interesting place to say the least 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. SO hideous! We stayed there a night before heading into London. There was an inch of dust on every surface, quite a few pubes on the floor in the bathroom, so we figured they didn’t clean. We asked to have the room cleaned again, they said it was, still pubes. Still pubes. We were also put in the annex, which looked substantially worse than the rest of the building. We joked that that’s where they put the Americans. The lady who checked us in was, even still, the meanest, craggiest old lady I’ve ever met. It was an experience 😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh God, I’m SO sorry. That is such a shame. That’s not a nice impression they’ve given of Oxford & Oxford people there. Eeeuuuurrrggggh pubes! So fucking gross. Shame on them. Haha the annex “where they put the Americans”. It’s probably true 😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Will you be taking trains on your next UK trip? You might have this issue again!!

    I traveled on UK trains a lot. Plenty of people reserve seats, and then don’t sit in them, so that is why people sometimes sit in seats that are obviously reserved. If you tell people it’s your seat, they won’t mind moving. They know they took a risk by sitting in the reserved seat. The worst thing is on the (mostly Virgin) trains when their seat reservation system goes down, so you can’t even tell if seats are reserved or not. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think you’re find on the Eurostar. Aren’t all the seats booked on there!? So you’ll have a designated spot with no old ladies in the way. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

  6. At first I also felt sorry for that old couple but then I started thinking maybe they knew exactly what they were doing. They purposely dressed that way so they could steal someone’s seat because they knew anyone with a kind heart would feel guilty for making them move.
    And now, remembering English train stations, I’m craving a ham and coleslaw sandwich. It took the special genius of the English to put coleslaw on a sandwich. With ham.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hahaha! Trains into London are the absolute worst! Avoid commuter times and afternoons on weekends at all costs if you can. People are mean and pushy and unless you do it every day and get hardened to it – like they are, it’s a total nightmare. I used to do the commute and eventually just stood up every journey

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Shhhh… there, there. Look, the old people probably bought tickets and then sat in the first seats they saw, figuring all that mattered was they had seated tickets and no one would bother them much about where they were supposed to be sitting. So if you’d stood or scrunched somewhere then there’d have been two unused seats somewhere on that train. (Only not really because some other person would have taken Gran’s seat and used Gramp’s seat for their coat. People are assholes like that.)

    Liked by 1 person

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