We were waiting -again -for the congestion of trains in the Central Manchester area to clear and some of us started to get restive when we trundled by what is euphemistically known as the Theatre of Dreams.
I don’t know what it is about dreams that caused our fellow passengers to start slapping the train window with the palms of theirs hands and pulling back their lips to reveal some alarmingly large gleaming white teeth: but caused it they did. Or was it the word ‘theatre’ that had gotten them so perturbed? Is there something about the world of the stage, the performer and the mechanical that generated such a hubbub amongst our fellow commuters that early Monday morning?
It’s not as if you would have been able to predict such alarming behaviour in advance. This was the usual 7.32 which left Warrington every Monday and was destined to finish its journey in Nottingham some two hours later. Nothing untoward about that you would think; nothing about that journey which would hint at the seemingly rapid reverse evolutionary process which possessed some of our fellow travellers that early Spring morning.
But a possession is what it was: the teeth baring soon gave way to the male members of the carriage fumbling their own membership out of their 3 piece suit trousers and waving their dangly pieces of flesh ferociously at the empty car park on the edge of the Theatre of Dreams. Female members of the carriage joined them by whooping and wailing, pulling out their hair, spraying the carriage with their expensive eau de toilette and screeching fiercely at any neighbours who inadvertently stared in their direction before forensically examining them for nits.
Before long though, the possession was completely infectious and we all found ways to relieve the boredom of the journey and the provocative challenge that the Theatre of Dreams threw down at us.
I realised in a flash of inspiration that the word ‘dream’ conjured up my latent fear of dreams which went back to when I was three and experienced my first dream of what it must have been like to emerge from the swamp over 3.5 million years ago.
That fear provoked in me a completely irrational desire to take my trousers off and wave my bottom out of the train window at the passers by. I have to admit: it was an utterly ridiculous thing to do but boy, did it feel good and I felt afterwards, as the train picked up speed and headed out of central Manchester to the Derbyshire dales, that my fear of the swamp was somehow quelled by my actions.
My fellow passengers looked suitably becalmed as well: having put away their teeth and genitalia, they resembled members of the 21st century again. It was a funny thing that Theatre of Dreams and I was glad that morning that I was able to visit mine and come out of the experience older and slightly wiser: albeit with an ASBO for improper conduct on the public railways.