Last summer I was doing an internship at a publishing house in London. It was a wonderful experience, filled with great people and a huge learning curve – not only about the job, but about myself. It’s an experience I will treasure for a long time.
Part of working in London is the commute. I was staying in Brighton, and this meant an hour and thirty-minute train journey every morning and every evening. For the most part, it actually wasn’t that bad. Sometimes it was a flipping nightmare.
On one such journey, I was sat in a window seat, as I usually could first thing in the morning, and the seats and aisles began to fill with people on their own commute. People packed in tight, chest to bulging backpack and side to side. For many, like me, it was the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading (I read a lot those months!).
I forget which station we pulled into, but two of the passengers who climbed on board were a man and his son. His son, no more than ten or eleven, had clearly decided that he was on this journey for the long-haul and sat down on the floor, adult passengers jostling all around him as the train began to move. I appreciated that the boy pulled out the book he was reading and, with small hand on cheek, ignored everything else that was happening around him.
I didn’t think much more of it. I turned back to my own book, or glanced out of the window as the scenery went by.
Eventually, we pulled into my stop at Blackfriars, and I had to slide precariously out of my seat, squeeze between the men and women crowding the aisles and make my way to the nearest exit. Except, there was a slight problem. The little boy with the book didn’t realise he was in the way. And he didn’t want to move. Because he was reading.
And his dad nudged his shoulder, and grabbed at his bag, and got him to stand and apologised for his son not moving out of the way to let me past. I said that it wasn’t a problem – no, it wasn’t a problem at all.
Not once did that little boy look up from the book he was reading. Not for anything else in the world.
So, that. That is why.