The closed doors pass the spot. Your spot. The side-stepping starts. The path ahead seems clear, until you’re enveloped by an early morning SWAT team, peeling left and right as they claim their bleary-eyed prize.
Two-person teams are smaller but just as efficient, its lead taking not the first available seat but the next one, in the hope of turning to face their partner in crime instead of the stranger that got the cream and knows it. The morning chat will have to wait.
Like a long-haul flight that never gets airborne, the ones who still want sleep try to welcome it with bodies folded in on themselves in their attempts to achieve stability in a fast-moving bedroom.
Musical choice clashes with musical choice through a combination of noise-leak and volume. Stars mix with unknowns in duets that would never sell in a month of Sundays but which nonetheless have an audience, bemused at having paid for the privilege.
Mini-offices are constructed, with laptops and highlighted notes bridging the gap between leg and undersized table. For every spreadsheet there’s a video – last nights illegal download becoming this morning’s treat.
The first few stations bring those who haven’t given up hope. An unbelieving few race up and down for a seat that has hitherto helped a backpack punch well above its weight, with an enabler who refuses to sit on the inside, instead getting up to let the victor in.
Round one is over. Winners and losers declared, the dust settles. Round two brings a prize worth fighting for. After all, home is where the heart is.