Train seat drama had a sting in tail for me at 63 - Susan Morrison

Yesterday, I found out that I am elderly. A story broke about a young woman on a train. She’s 32. This is relevant to the tale.
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She’d booked and reserved a First Class Seat from London to Aberdeen. This means she’s either won the lottery or she’s going to go without heating for the rest of her life, given the costs involved. She treated herself to this touch of luxury because she had work to do and, presumably, she’s been to Aberdeen before and knew what to expect when she reached the grim Granite city. You need something to keep the spirits up. It's a great train trip, though.

I imagine her beavering away on the monthly report, spreadsheeting away like fury whilst scoffing all the complimentary shortbread when suddenly a woman she describes as ‘elderly’ appeared beside her and demanded the seat.

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The young woman pointed out she had reserved the seat. It appeared that the company had sold her the ‘Priority’ seat for disabled or, I assume, elderly travellers.

Reserved seats are always tricky. It’s supposed to bring you peace of mind, but until you get your bahookie firmly in place, it's a tense business.

Back in the day it was a little piece of card shoved into the seat in front. There was always the fear that some fiendish criminal type could remove it, even though there were dire warnings about committing such a heinous crime. Actually, nothing happened, particularly if the docket thief was the size of an end-of-the-pier wrestler.

The staff themselves could get it wrong. On one occasion on the Glasgow-Preston train, someone conflated Carriage B and Carriage D, and doubled up the reserved places. Glaswegian tempers flared over table seats. People went to war to secure their territorial rights. It began to resemble one of those disaster movies with passengers trapped on a train battling zombies.

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It was only sorted out by a wee wumman with a trolley, a loud voice and a commanding hairdo.

A train drama involving an 'elderly lady' had columnist Susan Morrison seeing herself in a new light. PIC: John Devlin.A train drama involving an 'elderly lady' had columnist Susan Morrison seeing herself in a new light. PIC: John Devlin.
A train drama involving an 'elderly lady' had columnist Susan Morrison seeing herself in a new light. PIC: John Devlin.

Today we have the nifty overhead display, but, as we all know, that’s tricky, too.Technology fails. Mild panic broke out just a year ago on a Newcastle-bound service when the display didn’t work. There were only four of us in the carriage, but we still kept asking each other if we were in the right seats.

This young lady, however, appears to have reserved her seat and found it with little difficulty. And up pops this woman demanding she move, pronto, on account of her being ‘elderly’.

Aged she may have been, but this dame clearly kicked off big style when our industrious gal refused to move. The train guard got involved, as they do now, which is a great reason to keep them.

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He discovered that our complaining dame had bought a ticket, but not reserved a seat. He got her a seat in Standard. I’m betting a scorcher of a complaint letter is heading to customer services like a heat seeking missile.

The young woman was upset, and wrote the whole thing on-line, as they do these days, and she described the older woman as ‘eldery’. About 60ish.

I’m 63. I’ve just spent a king's ransom on eye lens replacement surgery. I’m starting to think I should have spent the lot on getting my face lifted.