Nailed. Well and truly.Nailed.

Every time I book a train it is as if the great God of nail biters is up there and decreeing. ‘Right if she’s sitting in carriage J seat 21 I will sit opposite her, a woman or a man who cannot get enough of chawing down on their finger nails’

I am writing this through clenched fingers, teeth and even hair as the woman opposite me munches on down on her digits. It’s driving me M A D. The past few train journeys I have ended up opposite voracious finger chewers. It’s not something I have even thought about on any level since I was in Primary 5 and my pal Elizabeth Henderson used to have her thumb painted with some evil tasting formula to stop her sucking it. It worked. Thumb sucking. Finger chewing. I just wish now I had paid more attention to what that vile paint her mum painted on her thumb was, so I could keep a vat of it in my handbag for moments like these.

Men eating their finger nails was the theme until today and so when I sloped onto the train I deliberately selected to sit opposite a woman who looked quite organised, and well fed. I could feel my entire body decrease in size as I tensed up when before we even pulled out of the station my fellow passengers arm was thrust upwards in order to move the jumper up past the wrist for maximum investigation of the finger eating, nail nibbling and rag nail chewing potential for the journey. Then 5 minutes out of the station. It was as if someone shouted. On your marks get set. GO! And she did. And she is. Aaaargh. So what do I do?




Leave my seat to take my chances elsewhere.

Beg her to stop.

Pull the communication cord Drink.

Drink heavily.

Get off at the next stop and go home.

All options but no no I will sit here averting my eyes, staring out the window, or at my laptop waiting to get online do the lottery, to win it and buy my own bloomin’ train carriage the entrance of which will have a massive sign which will read NO NAIL BITERS. FINGER SUCKERS. RAG NAIL SWALLOWERS ALLOWED.

Until then I am off to loiter round the end of the carriage to calm my fevered head.

I may be some time.


Writer & broadcaster.

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