A man without a mask appeared to be dying of Covid, or something quite like it, on the London to Guildford train.
Hunched double in his seat across the aisle, he groaned as he coughed, gasped as he sneezed, and sniffed as a way of clearing the mess because he hadn’t got a tissue.
Sans mask, sans handkerchief he spluttered and spattered. His capacity to ignore my stare was magnificent.
I’m not a tolerant person, and when someone is sneezing at me during what is supposed to be a pandemic I cannot muster generosity. Sitting on the worn, red upholstery of the 1453 South Western train service from Waterloo, I looked daggers at this fellow to no avail.
He was a big man, dark and I would say swarthy but I don’t think you’re allowed to say that any more, even though in my book swarthy is a compliment meaning handsome in a rustic, Mediterranean way.
But I don’t want a BLM brick chucked through my window, actually or metaphorically.
So I’ll just say he was buff, and looked like a waiter I might have had a crush on when I was 19 and on a package holiday.
He would have been attractive if he had not been emitting such a volume of fluids from his facial area. The sneezes were so enormous they shook his entire body and I wondered how long it would be before somebody said something, although there were only six passengers in the carriage.
The conductor walked through twice and although he eyed my masked face suspiciously, he seemed not to see the sneezing, coughing, groaning man sitting maskless across the aisle.
At Epsom, to my amazement, just as I was about to jump up and change carriage, the train stopped next to a British Transport Police officer who was standing on the platform.