I should have realised when my initial request elicited first nothing and then a very slow, obviously reluctant opening of the door to the driver’s cabin.
The drive of the 109 tram this morning did not even look at me at first. He opened the door only because he was pretty much obliged to. I was making an effort to keep my voice light and friendly. After all, the absence of air in the main cabin probably wasn’t the driver’s fault. And when I say the absence of air, I guess you know that I mean that the air was not cool. But it was also a muggy day and with no air conditioning, in a sealed tram cabin, it really did feel like there was no air in there.
So when I knocked on the driver’s cabin and mentioned in light, friendly (but impossible to ignore) voice that we were struggling a bit and could he please do something about the air, or maybe even get a tram swap happening (we were approaching the Kew Tram Depot). As I spoke, a quiet but heartfelt cheer and ‘hear hear’ type action rose from the group of fellow passengers nearest to where I stood.
Perhaps the driver was a bit sensitive (poor petal). He got all defensive and said ‘sometimes it doesn’t work and there’s nothing we can do’. He kept his back to me, even though we were stopped. Cool, fresh air continued to flow out of his little booth through the partly opened door. ‘It’s lovely in here,’ I exclaimed. I wasn’t meaning anything by it, nor was I not not meaning anything by it. It was just an exclamation of surprise, after the armpit experience of the main cabin, to have an arctic blast from the driver’s booth! Who wouldn’t exclaim at a sudden shift from armpit to arctic?!
He ignored me so I stumbled on… ‘compared to out here, that’s great. It’s really horrible in here.’
He snapped, finally. I had pushed him too far. ‘It’s not a competition!’ he snorted, and slammed the door.
We sweated and fumed all the way into the city, finally emerging into morning air that was about 5 degrees cooler and 10% less humid.
I guess I’ll just have to learn to be less petty.