Travelling on the train into Kings Cross to supervise my latest project, my fellow travellers and I were subjected to the very loud rantings of a middle-aged woman who was being verbally offensive and aggressive to other passengers. There is something quite frightening about being trapped in an enclosed space with someone who is quite clearly angry and, in this case although it was only 10.30am, drunk. Several young girls moved away down the carriage to escape and when asked to "please be quiet" by another older passenger she just upped the volume and ranted on mostly at an elderly gentleman who had the misfortune to be sitting opposite her. He surprised everyone by calmly engaging her in general conversation about the weather [always the first conversational topic in Britain] and then asking her where she was travelling to etc etc. She was as surprised as the rest of us and it put her off her stroke and in fact calmed her down much to everyone's relief.
The gentleman and I changed trains at the same station and we both walked through to an adjoining platform to board a tube train to continue our journeys. I congratulated him on his sensitive handling of the situation and he was just saying that it was still quite a relief to change trains when "the ranter" appeared by his side just as the tube train pulled into the station platform. The poor man just couldn't face any more and we both got on and off the tube train quickly leaving her inside no doubt about to destroy the peace for another carriage full.
Were her actions caused by a mental illness, her drinking or a bit of both?
Why are people so quick to anger these days? Road rage is frequently reported and only last week at Royal Ascot, no less, there was a fist fight reported. Whatever has happened to "turning the other cheek" or "live and let live"?