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Observations from a station waiting room


My nearest station is particularly well equipped with waiting rooms, we have one for each side of the station, they form part of a charming but underappreciated piece of 1920s art deco architecture, and because of that they have deep pew benches, a solid radiator in the fireplace and good doors to keep out the chill.

It is a significant step up to most of the stations on the rest of the line where you get half a bus shelter to hide behind as the fast trains push the wind through before them.

If my train is a little bit late, or I’m a bit early (usually the former), I repair to the waiting room to grab my favourite seat near the window and knit away the waiting time.

I was first in this morning; headphones on, needles out, world zoned out and so it came as a bit of a shock to hear a banging noise on the door. I should add that the station has recently added a door handle to the doors, to stop them becoming pushed open by the breeze and getting stuck, letting all of the warmth out of the waiting room. The banging was a lady in her early forties pushing and pulling the doors to get them open. How she failed to notice the door handle I’ve no idea, it well within view (it is higher than normal on the door and she was short, well shorter than me) but she pushed and pulled and pushed and pulled and just when I was about to get up to open the door for her she disappeared off down the platform.

A few minutes later the lady returned with a member of station staff, no doubt complaining to them that they had locked the waiting room on a cold morning. This kind soul gently opened the door using said handle and pointed her inside.

Now this by itself was brilliant situation comedy, but what happened next made it hard to hide the smirks. No fewer than three more ladies (within 5 minutes) came up to the doors, pushed them, rattled them and looked annoyed. Our first lady strolled to the door, opened it wide and said in tones of gracious patronage:

It helps if you use the door handle

You couldn’t make it up.