Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Sir, your zip"

The train carriage was busy and I couldn't help but make eye contact with the rather jolly middle aged man in a suit who boarded and stood opposite me. He was cheerfully flicking through the free evening paper, and caught my eye again with a friendly little smile when he unwrapped a sweet and put it in his mouth. He was friendly probably because he wasn't sure why I kept sneaking looks at him and was obviously not reading my newspaper.

I kept sneaking looks at him because... because his fly was wide open. I saw that as soon as he got on the train. And I felt a terrible urgency to tell him before he got off then started walking down the street with his zip all the way down, cheerful and jaunty and totally oblivious to his minor self-explosure. But how? How could I tell him without telling the entire train carriage too?

I stared at page 2, page 3 then page 2 again, mind whirring with all the ways I could let him know with the minimum damage to his pride and dignity.
Then he got out a pen and started filling in the crossword and an idea came to me. I leaned over and said:

"Can I show you one of the answers?"

Bemused, he handed me his newspaper and pen. I wrote:

"Sir, your zip" in the corner and handed it back.

He gasped and laughed at the same time.
"Oh, I DO apologise!" he cried, then held his paper in front of him as he zipped up. "How horrible for you! How embarrassing for me! Oh dear, did you have to see that for a long time?"

I muttered reassurances that no, it hadn't been a long time, I had just noticed it even though I had actually been plotting how to inform him of his sartorial faux pas for at least five stations. I grinned and gurned at him and then pretended to be utterly engrossed in the cryptic crossword. He got off three stops later and gave me a cheerful "Thank you!" as he walked away. I modestly dipped my head in response and went back to my crossword, which did not require any words to do with clothes fastenings to complete.