Solo Traveller, Lid Decaf

Last weekend I went out of town to visit my good friend Mary. I was excited to escape the city, enjoy some glorious sunshine and have a good old natter. As I made my way by rail I happened to notice some of the wording on my takeaway coffee lid, the phrase forming the title above. It seemed to strike a chord with me somehow as I sat on the platform at London Bridge but I couldn’t quite find the words to explain it. I jotted it down and continued with my day.

Fast forward to Tuesday where I sat in Pret a Manger and watched people as I ate before class (not in a creepy way, I had a book too!) and they seemed to sort of encapsulate it for me. The various characters I observed included a Rockabilly styled lurker who seemed to anxiously stare around, as if waiting for someone to notice him, the friendly server completing his duties with a giant smile, the three people sitting alone trying to look inconspicuous in booths designed for at least four and the man chatting (loudly) on skype while he ate. Then there was the couple who decided they had to squeeze into seats directly behind me who uttered three words to each other in half an hour, none of which sounded pleasant and the preteen girls proud of their glittery hand bags out with mum. It struck me that we’re all Solo Travellers regardless of our present company since we all tend to remain in our own little universes, plus we’re all individuals. This was brought home by the audacity (I think) of many who didn’t bother to clear their tables – everyone knows that Pret functions like a canteen, with giant bins for refuse and recycling on the outskirts of the seating area. (There I go, finger wagging again…)

I continue to ponder this phrase, trying to reason with its apparent resonance which I still can’t quite explain. Maybe I’m a bit crackers and need to think a little less, but right now I feel I may be on to something.