On the train, a man has several A4 pages printed up with differently patterned dots. He runs his pencil along each line, occasionally striking through one of the sets of dots.
Is he teaching himself Braille, but visually? Is this a new form of Sudoku, fending off Alzheimers?
The trolley arrives. Everyone shakes their head, and the trolley passes on. But the attendant notices the pages of dots, and addresses the man: ‘Are you going for train driver?’
‘Aye,’ he replies. ‘I went for it last year and I passed all the tests, but I failed one part of the interview. I’m doing it again, but they’ve changed it, and so I have to do it all again.’
She nods, and passes on.
‘So what is that?’ Central Belt Shuffler asks.
‘It’s a concentration test, to be a train driver. It’s got nothing to do with driving a train, but you have to do it.’
He goes on to tell me about the challenges of becoming a train driver, and how they seem keener on taking people from offices than existing train staff (a man who used to be in insurance; and then a marine biologist who ‘wouldn’t be told’ because he had a degree).
The train arrives. ‘Good luck.’
‘Thanks. I need it.’