Halfway Down The Stairs

#A.A. Milne might have sat down half way down the stairs, but he never did it because he couldn’t wait another second to see what had popped up on his mobile phone. I have noticed that the folk who have adopted this practice are neither in #London Underground or in the town. They are not at the bottom. They are not in the top. They are standing half way up the exit staircase. They are right in the way.

To the desperate, who cannot help but stop on their way out of a #tube station to check their phones, I can only assume that like the poem, “All sorts of funny thoughts” run round their heads. Considering the inconvenience, they cause to even the most vigilant commuter let alone those of us whose eyes are dim and cannot see, it had better be more than a message informing them it’s beans for tea.

Heaven forfend that I should discourage anyone from using up the leftovers, but “there is a chicken curry in the fridge with your name on it,” is not a good enough reason to clog up #tube station exits during rush hour. If you are desperately checking your phone for a long awaited message from a love interest, beware of where you stop.  Standing half way up or down the stair to read “you’re dumped” may throw you sufficiently off balance to the point that this metaphor becomes a lived experience for the unsuspecting crowds coming up the stairs behind you.

There is a #tube station etiquette, including arriving and leaving. It does not involve stopping on the stairs for no good reason. Reading and sending text messages are not good reasons. They can wait until you are no longer in the #underground but in the town. That’s approximately ten seconds longer.

Anyone who can’t see depends on everyone sticking to the etiquette.  That means keep moving once you are on the stairs.

You will know you are at the stairs because at the top and bottom of every set of stairs, in every #tube station, are #tactile floor indicators.  They tend to be denoted by horizontal raised markings that you can feel under foot. So if you have your eyes firmly fixed on your telephone because news of chicken curry just won’t wait, this is the clue that you must keep moving up those stairs until you feel more tactile indicators under foot to tell you that you have reached the top. At this point you should not stop. You should not stop until you are on the street.

If you stop half way up the stairs, I might have to wait for you to finish ordering your pilau rice, because if its rush hour I probably can’t let go of the hand rail and move around you. No amount of huffing and tutting will change that.

If the person coming up behind you is completely without sight and carrying a cane in their hand you might get more of a surprise than supper. You might find your chips are delivered with sauce. One blind mans’ efforts to work out what was going on resulted in a nasty swipe, with a cane, between the thighs to someone absorbed, halfway up the stairs, on his phone. Accidents will happen.

Don’t be like Pooh and be a “grumpy old bear’ about this. Follow the advice of #TFL. Keep moving and don’t stop on the stairs. Even those of us who can’t see have urgent business and stomachs to fill.

If you think I’m being chippy, you are probably right. There will be no carbs for me. It’s a calorie controlled offering for tea tonight.

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