Like many people, when boarding a train, I always scan the carriage for a double seat, naturally not for any travelling companion but for my bag.
This isn’t entirely shameful or selfish but because everyone knows that trying to manhandle a heavy bag on or off an overhead luggage rack is a ridiculous concept.
If you’re under 5ft 7”, it’s impossible to reach and for us taller people, the action of outstretching precariously above your head for anything weighing over 3kgs, that invariably gets caught on the lip of the rack, on a wobbly fast-moving train, whilst being mindful of a worried stranger sat beside you, is fraught with danger. Not even Liam Neeson would attempt it.
To save myself the indignity of falling onto their lap or worse, I choose to keep my bag beside me, where all contents are easily accessible and readily available. It’s not selfish, it’s adhering to Health and Safety laws.
A&E Departments are full of people with train luggage related incidents and it’s the fifth highest cause of head injury in this country after rolling pin attacks.
I sigh whenever someone points at my bag beside me and says: “Excuse me, is anyone sitting there?” Well, unless I’ve smuggled The Borrowers into my bag or someone’s actually, morphed into a bag, than clearly not.
I then, because of Health and Safety remember, have to sit uncomfortably with my bag on my lap, whilst trying to operate a newspaper.
I’ll try to alert the person in the aisle seat of my exit 10 minutes beforehand by incrementally packing stuff into my bag and hoping they’ll take the hint.
Otherwise, if I’m sat in a window seat, I can’t relax and spend the whole journey secretly praying they’ll get off before my stop as I hate approaching my station and asking them to rise because I’ll always panic and hastily scramble from my seat, hitting every seated passenger on the head with my bag as I pass and rush towards the door.