28 January 2009

PART 1 - A Fish in a Bowl

I could see he was weird by the way his eyes rolled. They would surf the passengers, leaping from one sight to the next. Perhaps he was looking for other crazies? After a long day, I couldn't concentrate on my book and was also glancing around the train. I hoped he didn't think I was crazy too.

But it wasn't until the woman beside me coughed that I really started to watch him. He was in his mid forties, wore a suit and carried a designer briefcase. A scarf hung from his neck and gave him a Bogart appearance. His fringe had a perfect kink in it, which made him look as if he'd spent too much time in front of the mirror with a wet comb. Either coaxing the kink in or coaxing it out. I guess I'll never know.

I had been watching this man for a while when the woman beside me coughed. He rolled his eyes again, then held his breath. To avoid discovery, I turned my head to look out of the window. But to my delight I found that I could continue to stare undiscovered through the window’s reflection.

Reaching into his brown leather Bally, he pulled out the Neue Zurcher Zeitung. He started to read the paper and I lost interest in him. He was normal after all. But then he brought it very close to his face until he touched his nose with it! I felt my eyes cross. Then he alternated between reading the paper from a sane distance and touching it with his nose.

I felt my jaw drop, my mouth gaping like a fish struggling for oxygen. I continued to stare out of my fishbowl window without seeing anything beyond. My eyes smiled and my lips twitched. This was pure entertainment. I had to force myself to look at the passing view just to dampen the rising laughter. But no matter how hard I tried, I was pulled back to watch. I was a chocolate addict in a Lindt store.

What was going on inside this man's head?

The woman beside me coughed again.

The crazy rolled his eyes and put his paper away, then brought his hands up to his face and covered his nose. He then moved his hands all over his nose and smelled them.

He remained like this for the rest of the journey until the train pulled into Zurich and he leaped up and dashed down the aisle like a prison escapee.
The following morning, I read in the paper that the Grippe was running rife through Switzerland. Perhaps my 'crazy' was just trying to avoid infection? I guess I'll never know...

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