I can't remember all of it verbatim, but it started off: `For the comfort of our first-class passengers ticket enforcement officers regularly patrol our trains.'
And I thought `comfort' was an odd word to use in this context. Do First Capital Connect (for 'tis they, the bane of my life) think that putting ticket inspectors on their trains makes the First Class passengers sit easier in their seats? Do the commuters going up to Hendon and St Albans really feel better knowing that there are phalanxes of inspectors heading down the train to arrest that one bloke who's decided to sit in First Class as far as West Hampstead?
I've been hearing `comfort' used more and more on the transport system. `For the comfort and safety of passengers, closed-circuit television is in use at this station.' `For the comfort and safety of passengers, smoking is illegal on all stations operated by First Capital Connect.'
The only thing that suggests itself is that it makes all passengers complicit in these actions. They're doing it to make us more comfortable, so it must be good. Bless them for making us more comfortable. It can only be a matter of time before they say, `for the comfort of all our passengers, we're putting transport fares up to a level where only the owners of Premier Division football clubs can afford to travel.'
To my mind it's a bizarre use of the word `comfort,' which I usually associate with a really good chair and a book I'm totally involved in. I have other definitions of `comfort,' but they're personal and none of your business. None of them involves commuting.
I do wonder whether it's because travel in the southeast has become so uncomfortable - and it's getting worse, it took me three hours to get home tonight - that they've started planting the word in our subconsciousnesses so we'll say, "Sure, it took me eight days to get home from work and I had to go via Ulan Bator, but those guys really care about my comfort."
Just a thought.