The 8:32 is cancelled. But I’m on time. And with forty minutes to spare (or despair) I retreat to the station’s humble waiting room, in which a girl, whom by probability I assume is a hairdresser (I’ve met three in a week) smokes beneath a no smoking sign and a teenage boy fulfils a stereotype: trucker cap, low rider jeans, skateboard. He’s listening to what sounds like The Clash. “It is,” he responds, when I ask to confirm.

Our conversation, if you can call it that, is interrupted by the polyphonic ringing of his phone, which plays the theme from Indiana Jones, somewhat ironically. I see this guy five mornings a week and have concluded that unlike the Harrison Ford machine of machismo he is largely a man of inaction. He sleeps on the train and I’ve yet to see him use his skateboard. Still, the thought of him leaping aboard, whip and skateboard in hand, clutching at his trucker cap before the train door closes, passes the time and elicits a silent chuckle. You might call it a smile. It too is interrupted by a polyphonic ringtone. This time mine and a text message from my boss, Em. “Meeting at 10. Will you make it?”

“I think so,” is my response. “Unfortunately.”

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