This afternoon, I was on my way back to the office from across town. It made sense to do this particular trip by public transport because of that nuisance known as the congestion charge, which requires that if you do drive into or through the centre of town on weekdays during working hours, you must pay a charge of £8. But then, even after you've paid all this money to drive into central London, you don't find anywhere to park the car anyway. So I was on the tube, the seats of which are affixed to the sides of the carriage in a row such that tube passengers who manage to find seats, sit facing each other across the carriage from one side to the other.
Sitting across from me on the crowded tube train was an elderly black gentleman, perhaps in his late 70s or early 80s, looking proud and distinguished and it was clear that sometime ago this was a handsome man. Anyway, I noticed (as you do) that the zipper on the front of his trousers was undone. Feeling somewhat embarrassed for him, (and the fact that he was black didn't help either), I tried to alert him to the fact. I started by staring him straight in the face, you know, just to catch his attention. It worked! Then I mouthed the words "your fly is undone..", not wanting even the person sitting next to me so suspect that I was trying to say something to the gentleman across from us. This elderly chap knew that I was trying to communicate with him, but he apparently could make no sense of what I was [not] saying.
I thought I should not gesture towards his crotch because if I did, everyone around us would notice that his fly was undone. So while still unmoving, I continued trying to make verbal communication, but by then I realised that I could hear my own voice. I was no longer mouthing the words, I was actually saying them. As if this was not bad enough, it appears that this elderly fellow has not remembered to put on his hearing aid this morning. He was almost completely deaf, so by the time I got my message across to him, I had had to almost shout the words while pointing at his crotch with my finger, before he knew what I was on about. The very thing I was trying to avoid is what happened, because everyone around us saw that this man's zipper was undone and I blamed myself for it. And as I left the train (and the man) at Liverpool Street station, I was embarrassed for me too..