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Thursday 9th June 2005

It's a terrible world where you write something like that and still feel good about yourself 24 hours later.

I was on my way to my gig at the Comedy Candy tonight. I was in a packed carriage and it was hot and uncomfortable and I was jostling for space with other irritated passengers, all wishing they had a seat.
Suddenly from a little way up the carriage there was a sound, like a violent cough, followed by a woman incredulously saying "Oh my God!" in a disgusted voice. A small commotion commenced.
It sounded to me like someone had just coughed or sneezed over the disgusted woman, which would be more than enough to be disgusted about, especially if any or much moisture was involved, but it became quickly clear that something else had happened.
A certain smell and snatched comments made it clear that someone had vomitted, at least over one woman's bag and, although I couldn't see anything reports were coming back, possibly over another woman as well. I saw someone get some paper hankies out of her handbag. At least some of the passengers were rallying around. Though most of the others had (unsurprisingly) got up from the seats that I once coveted and were pushing to get away from the sick-strewn scene. Nothing was heard from the vomiter only the vomitees which was a little confusing.
It was hot and I had had a rich lunch and I was worried that I might join in the melee. It would be ironic if the commuters had tried to escape from one vomiter only to run into the path of another. It's a tactic used by bombers. That might have set everyone off. It could end in disaster.
There was, of course, a part of me that found all this very amusing, mainly because I was out of the splatter zone, but empathy made me feel sorry for those who had been caught up in the disaster. That was going to ruin your evening. Imagine if you were on your way to a hot date and you turned up covered in sick, or worse just the faint residue and smell of sick on your clothing. I was going to a gig. I might have had time to go home and change, but probably not.
At the next stop most people elected to change carriages. I looked in through the window to see a comatose man with sick on his shirt sprawled in a seat. He had the whole half a carriage to himself. Using my detective skills I guessed that he was probably the one who had thrown up. He was dead to the world and would probably never know what he had done. I imagined that some other commuters would now get on, be delighted and surprised to find so many empty seats, grab one and then a couple of minutes down the line find themselves the next victim of this narcoleptic chunderer.
We are in constant danger in this city and the danger often takes forms we would never imagine. I am glad I did not leave the train with a bag full of the half digested contents of someone else's stomach. I had never imagined that I would feel lucky for such a thing, but it's amazing how experience can make you reconsider your life.

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