Too Close For Comfort

I stepped on to the packed 18:50 train with 5 minutes to spare, and flattened myself against the glass divider screen just inside the door in a vain attempt to avoid being pushed to the back of the carriage against my will. Five minutes later, I had been pushed to the back of the carriage against my will and was wedged uncomfortably against a pole amidst a sea of people, including The World’s Tallest Man and The World’s Most Assertive Man. As the train moved off, The World’s Tallest Man stretched his arm behind my head from about six feet away to hold on to the pole, while The World’s Most Assertive Man reached across my face to do the same thing, effectively trapping me in a headlock. Had the situations been reversed, I would have felt that pushing my arm against a stranger’s face was a bit rude, but The World’s Most assertive Man was clearly used to having his own way. I prayed for one of my mind-blowing sneezing fits to come on and sort him out, but it never came.

As the train wobbled shakily over the points on the track, The World’s Tallest Man decided to establish an even tighter grip on the pole, and consequently, my head. Worse still, the armpit of his GoreTex jacket was now rubbing noisily on the microphone hole of the hearing aid with every tiny movement, and I felt an overwhelming urge to throttle him. Not even the spouse gets that close to the microphone hole and, frankly, no one other than an audiologist ever should. I vowed to prevent this unwelcome intrusion on public transport in future, by developing a new improved version of the EarShot speaker. It would work by hijacking the speakers of the train PA system, and using wireless technology to broadcast the sound output of my hearing aid to all and sundry. If that idea became a reality, no stranger would ever get away with rubbing the microphone hole of my hearing aid with the armpit of their GoreTex jacket again. My fellow passengers would be forced to step in and wrench the man’s arm from my ear without me having to do a thing.

“Hey, you, stop rubbin yer jacket on that wumman’s hearin aid, that noise is pure doing ma nut in”, they’d say. “And you, Mr Assertive, take yer elbow oottae her mouth, as well, that’s really rude”, they’d continue, once the hearing aid scenario had been brought to their attention.  But all of that was in the future. I needed help now.

“Hearing Aid Avenger!” I cried, “Save me!”

I waited, but nothing happened.

At the next station, the man released his headlock and I staggered off the train into the darkness and driving rain.

“You’re getting sacked, Hearing Aid Avenger”, I muttered.

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