Impatience by mdezemery
Not long enough.
Was long enough to provoke conflict (grimaces, eye-rolling, no actual blows) with the an angry idiot behind me who demanded know why in God's sweet earth was the ticket man taking so long?
"Constant distractions from people in the queue?" I ventured, not without irritation (I know, a more conciliatory person than me would have apologised on behalf of ticket man, and South-West trains and fetched Angry Man a cappucino while he waited).
"From people like you", I continued, relentlessly.
Angry Man was not amused, but yielded to the obvious truth of my answer and subsided into a steady tut-tut, puff-puff, stamp-stamp, building to a crescendo as I received my shiny new plastic ticket wallet.
I was done. A glance at the board told me that fast train was 3 mins away.
Angry Man had waited 13 minutes behind me, during which two trains had left and I was suddenly curious to know what reason had necessitated his queuing behind me, sighing and grumbling, disregarding the ticket vending machines all that time? A lack of fingers rendering him unable to press the tiny buttons with his elbow? A fantastically complicated journey to destinations remote? A pressing question of intricate and abstruse obscurity?
I stood to one side and listened in.
"Can you tell me, please", said Angry Man, clearly and loudly, "What is the fastest way to St Johns Wood?'
"Train to Waterloo, and then Jubilee line.... Of course", I heard exasparated Ticket Man reply as I legged it off to platform 3, breaking the habits of 25yrs of commuting by actually running for a train. . "I mean - how else would you do it?"