This is a silly anecdote about a horrible tram journey I took today. Apologies in advance for the toilet language, but sometimes only a good swear will do.
Tram 11 made glacial progress up the long hill, packed tight with human cargo and hotter than the face of the sun. A quirk of the schedule meant that this particular service had coincided with two separate tourist boats arriving into Saltholmen harbour, and as a result the ageing streetcar resembled a warm tin of shop-soiled corned beef.
My initial joy at grappling my way into a window seat had dissipated the moment that I became surrounded by human flesh on all sides, sticky and unpleasant from the unusually hot spell that shrouded the city. A young mother thrust a pushchair at my legs with the force of an aggrieved bear, making me bite hard on my tongue to avoid shouting “FUCKING TWAT!” directly into a toddler’s face. It wasn’t entirely the toddler’s fault, but he did have a shifty look about him as though he’d orchestrated the incident. As if to prove a point, the toddler looked me in the eye and began to scream. Continuously. For the duration of 14 faltering stops. The twat.
Looking away from the demon child gave no solace, as I found myself gazing directly into the groin of a rotund American man, all sweat and jowls and the scent of spam. It was a fairly unremarkable groin, certainly not one of the all-time greats, although presently it occupied a space altogether too close to my nose and mouth. After all, a groin is a terrible thing to taste (as the famous quote goes). To avoid the ominously jiggling nethers I braced myself in an approximation of the foetal position and stared directly at my feet. To compound matters, and to provide a counterpoint to the ongoing screams from the aforementioned toddler, the American man produced a prolonged coughing fit of such epic proportions that the world seemed to shake and shudder, flecks of spittle and fragments of windpipe raining down on all within the blast radius, myself included. It was a display of snorting and hacking worthy of the Norse gods themselves; he certainly failed to keep things low-key (Pun 1 – check).
I closed my eyes and tried to block out the screams of beelzebub and the walrus-like ejaculations of the man with the Thor throat (Pun 2 – check), a tightly curled ball of stress and anger. Eons passed before the noises subsided, passengers gradually departing. The air became thinner and cooler, until I could breathe again. I uncurled myself and marvelled at the space around me, unencumbered by toddlers or tourists. I felt something approaching relaxed happiness, until I looked up and realised I had missed my stop by a spectacular margin.
FUCK IT. FUCK IT ALL. FUCK IT RIGHT IN THE EAR.