The Evolution of Train Spotting

Many years ago Britain was the home of a most peculiar pastime.  Trainspotting.  For the Europeans among my readers I feel I must point out that Trainspotting does not in actual fact require participants to take heroin and become Scottish.  Trainspotting actually refers to a long, forgotten hobby, as archaic as druidism with even sillier costumes.  The participants of this strange pastime were almost always funny looking bespectacled men, adorned in anoraks and bobble hats.  The activity itself solely consisted of spending entire weekends sitting on train station platforms writing down the numbers of passing trains in tattered notebooks.  Believe it or not, the participants of this form of social relaxation, did it for…. fun.  I don’t know whether this futile pursuit still exists, rather  regrettably, I suspect it does.

Something strange happens to people on trains.  For some reason our chronic fears, and distrust of fellow humans tend to float to the surface for no other reason than the fact that we are on a train.  The most common rite of passage usually takes place on the underground.  For some reason people fear making eye contact and go to enormous lengths to find a spot to look at which is free of those terrible manifestations of evil: the human eyeballs. The determination and commitment shown in this endeavor often makes participants look as if they are experiencing some form of fit as their eyes twitch all around the cabin.  Strangely it is not the nauseous odor of human bodies trapped in a metal coffin which offends people.  The vast majority of us are fine with being surrounded by the potent cocktail of perfume, sweat and farts.  It’s the eyeballs which worry us.

That of course doesn’t mean that we don’t have the same problems on regular trains, it is simply that the seating arrangement reduces the chance of ever having to make eye contact with a stranger.  They still stink, there are still lunatics, it is more a question that normal trains are presumed to be more civilized.  The reason for this is simple.  We are extremely unlikely to find ourselves ‘face to crutch’ with a stranger, or ‘nostril to armpit’.  The perceived civility comes from the fact that by and large normal trains are more orderly.  Of course we still avoid eye contact, we still stiffen when someone asks ‘is that seat taken?’ and we do shuffle in out seats when a stranger sits next to us.  All of these examples of perceived incivility make the fact that a new pastime has developed on trains, which given the human discomfort which is evident on every journey has come of somewhat a surprise to me.

The fact is that trains have become a hunting ground for wankers.  Literally.  It is hard to believe given the fact that a train is hardly conducive to romantic liaisons.  Unless Virgin has started lacing their tea with aphrodisiacs.  The first time I heard about a locomotive pleasure seeker was in a news story involving a man acquitted of indecency on a train, on the grounds that he had been playing an invisible banjo underneath a newspaper on his lap.  I know given that picture, some of you may dispute his innocence but I find his argumentation incredibly persuasive.

Think about it:

Recently I read another story about a man in Florida who was accused of stimulating himself on a train.  In his defense, one I might add, that is perfectly plausible, he claimed that he was rocking backwards and forwards because he had an itchy belly.  I can imagine how such an action could easily be misjudged and honestly it’s an example of how people in general always jump to negative conclusions.  He did incidentally admit that he may have accidentally ejaculated on the train’s bathroom floor.  I for one admire his courage as honestly, who hasn’t been there?

A quick search on Google brings up a startling amount of stories from all over the world.  America, Denmark, Australia, Thailand to name but a few.  An exception to the rule is when something like that happens once, in one corner of the globe, in one isolated incident.  When repeated incidents take place across numerous continents it can then be classified as an epidemic.

The reality is that the appearance of train wankers coinciding with the disappearance of train spotters is no accident. It is a natural byproduct of evolution.    It is a living example of ‘Gradualism’.  Train wankers didn’t appear suddenly. They didn’t pull themselves out of the swamps and march towards the cities.  They are an example of a slower, gradual change which is reflected in our societies as well as our biology.  Once upon a time it was unthinkable for a man to sit in the same cabin on a train as a lady.  Even today women-only passenger cars  are still offered in Japan, Egypt, India, Iran, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Dubai.  Yet 100 years ago they were commonplace in most countries, which begs the question whether this is truly evolution, or really devolution.

Wherever you stand on the matter you must acknowledge the fact that one day you might be on a train and you may notice a man acting suspiciously.  Before rushing to any rash judgements you should perhaps ask him if his belly is itchy.  If he shakes his head you should then play him a note from your invisible banjo and see if he responds.  If he doesn’t then the chances are that he is stimulating himself.  Unfortunately given the fact that people like this are hard to stop mid flow there is only one thing you can do.  Don’t scream.  Don’t hurl abuse.  Shout ‘dead kittens, dead kittens, dead kittens’.  If that doesn’t kill his mood you can be sure that he is a proper wanker.

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