23 July 2014

"She self-identifies as adorable"

An English train journey:

The young woman tells my wife she works at Butlin's, which may explain the volume at which she prefers to conduct conversation.

"You're a redcoat!" my wife shouts.

"I am a redcoat!" the young woman shouts.

"You must be busy!" my wife shouts.

"I'm one of eleven hundred staff," the young woman says.

"Eleven hundred?" I say. This strikes me as being an incredible number.

"Yup," the young woman says. "Eleven hundred in the summer."

"Wow," I say. "So what's the staff-to-guest ratio?"

"The what?" the young woman shouts. "The ratio?"

"Just roughly," I say. "I don't need an exact figure."

"Don't confuse me!" she shouts. "I'm adorable!"

The train manager announces our arrival in Taunton.

"This is my stop!" the young woman shouts. "Bye!"

We can still hear her from the other side of the carriage door, shrieking merrily at the other passengers. A few moments after the train comes to a halt, we see her walk past our window. She waves with what I imagine is characteristic enthusiasm, and we wave back. As the train starts to move, we begin to overtake her. We keep waving.

"She's adorable," my wife says.

"I know," I say. "She self-identifies as adorable."

"And also possibly a bit wasted," my wife says.

"It's good that you were able to draw her out of her shell," I say.

- Tim Dowling, 'On a train with a redcoat', Guardian, 12 July 2014
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