Monday, 11th November 2013

by Joshua Gaskell

On the tube a man’s music is blaring out unacceptably from what I presume are marketed as headphones, but are in fact mini-speakers attached to a thuggish Alice band. I tap him and signal my desire for him to turn the volume down. Instead of doing so he says (in an American accent) ‘fuck off’, and reinforces the suggestion by giving me the finger with both hands; giving me the fingers, I suppose.

This might have won him the day if it weren’t for our particular location on the network. The disadvantage of Americanised obscene gestures, which require one hand per digitus impūdicus, is that in order to put two fingers up at me – whereas Britons can make the V-sign one-handed (dígitos impūdicus, as it were) – my American friend has to dedicate his entire complement of forelimbs, meaning that as the carriage hits Caxton Curve (for we are there) he is flung at the doors like tossed cwaffee.