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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Meet the fifth Horseman, Sniffles

It's been a long week. It started with a tech malfunction at work, where our internal computers went to the great big server in the sky until BT came out the following day and replaced the cable (it wasn't me this time, at least. IT guys said so) and continued with the tube hiccuping yesterday resulting in an hour and half journey into the office. 

Today was spent playing catch-up, and dealing with the Spreadsheet of Doom, and by the time I left I had low blood sugar from not eating and was feeling mildly homicidal.

I change onto the overland train at Walthamstow to get to my little village just outside of London proper, and at this time in the evening it's usually quiet. The sardine rush has ended, people are more relaxed, and you can even get a seat.

Tonight was, er, special. Tonight, I am convinced I had the lesser known 5th horseman of the apocalypse in the seat behind me.

Usually I write on the way in and out - I've got a great free little app on my phone, and I plug in my music, flick the screen on, and spend around thirty minutes happily jabbing at the on-screen keyboard. Tonight I was too mentally stunned to do much more than haul my kindle out and get stuck into the latest book (Annetta Ribken's The Fantasy. I love that woman's writing. Wish there was more of it.) and hope I wouldn't fall asleep on the train. Snoring in public gets humiliating, ya know?

Half a page in, the saddest noise in the world rises from the seat behind me.

"Ooooaaaahh."

Followed by one of the most horrifying sounds found on London transport:

*hack.hackhackhack.SNIFF.HACKSNIFF*

Then back to the zombie moment of the day.

"Oooooaaahoooo -*sniff* awk."

I found my earphones. Started off with The Killers.

Over the music, I could still hear it. 

*HACK*sniff* "OOOOaaaauggh!"

Moving the selection onto Queens of the Stone Age didn't help. The banshee wailing behind me grew louder. The guy standing against the door turned around. We looked at each and shrugged.

"AAAAOOOOOOOOawk." pause. *sniffsniff*

With five minutes to go I switched to Rammstein. That stuff is good for squalling babies and toddlers up to around 120 decibels.

"OOOOOOOAAAAAAOOOO. AWK. HACKHACKSNIFFHACK OOOOOOO!"

Any woman that can out-sniff, out-moan, and out-cough Rammstein deserves respect, and a very wide berth.

I lunged for the train door as soon as it opened and fled into open air.

Behind me, the wailing noise of the undercover horseman, the one that left before they got their big break, turned in the other direction and thankfully, started to wane.

"OOOOOaaaaaooooooaao!"