“You’re in a bad way then, how’d you do that?”
Henry tried to remember that this well-meaning stranger had no idea that this was the fourteenth time he had heard that question since leaving the house. The problem with British society as far as Henry could tell was that there was no reason to talk to strangers unless they were injured or obviously foreigners. He had commuted in the Thames Valley for five years, on and off, and at the beginning he had tried to engage strangers on trains and platforms in daily chit chat. He had quickly learned that one did not speak to one’s fellow traveller except to to express disdainful solidarity over the issues of delays and overcrowding.
Now that he was attempting to thread his way through commuter crowds on crutches, he fell foul of the fact that there was a lot of standing around for lifts and for gates to be held open, and these pauses allowed normal people to repeatedly ask the same pedestrian question;
“How did you end up like that?” or “Hurt yourself have you?”