Man in rather weary looking business suit, sitting directly opposite gets on at Bath, gets off at Salisbury. Sunken eyes, messy hair. Mid-40s
This was not people watching, for this man spoke to me. I don’t intend to paint this man in a negative light for what he would go on to tell me would be extremely compelling and change my perception, not necessarily for the better.
“How old are you lad?” His accent was Northern, his voice impeccable as if he had never had a sore throat in his life. I told him I was seventeen, lying for no reason whatsoever, I was sixteen. “You’re at school”, “Yes.” Something about him made me feel as if he hadn’t asked a question. “Why?” This was certainly a question and one that had taken me by surprise. “Sorry?” I replied in a questioning manner.
“What are you doing at school lad, why are you there?” I replied and told him the subjects I was taking, English, History, French and Spanish. “For what? Why are you bothering?” This made me somewhat uncomfortable, why did he care, why was he challenging me on this insignificant point?
“I’m sorry son but what’s the point to it all? You will go to school and take your exams, slave all your hours away under immense pressure for what? You will receive a piece of paper with a letter on it promising that you are intelligent. This piece of paper will allow you to do more studying and take more exams, paying for the privilege, which will then lead to another piece of paper promising further intelligence. This one might even be fucking laminated. That laminated piece of paper allows you to get a job, entitling to more work which you will earn lots of little pieces of paper which you will pay someone to take care of for you. Your life and mine and everyone else’s are completely dependant on how many little pieces of paper you have. The person with the most wins. You spend your life collecting little pieces of paper until you die and only then do you realise that there really was no point to it whatsoever.”
He stood up and got off the train, perhaps he did it for dramatic effect and now was stuck in Salisbury when he lived in Gosport.