Monday, 28 April 2008

Commuter Woes: Part One

Or the person who thinks one minute before the train is about to leave is the perfect time to make random ticket enquiries.

So you stump up to the train station, horribly aware you have left it all rather last minute to buy your weekly travel card. You hope against hope there is not a queue, except this is Monday morning at 8am, prime peak time for all those dilberts like me who forget about such things, while organised people sail past regally with a polystyrene cup of coffee and a muffin.

Of course there is a queue, as such is life, and you join in the 5th position. On the one hand you are really glad that your last minute spurt of speed beat that portly man in the suit (grumbling in 6th), but on the other hand you are slightly alarmed to see the person at the very front of the queue looks rather casual. Where is his suit? Does he even care what train he gets? Does he know our livelihoods depend on getting that blasted 8.07?

No, he does not care he has picked the prime commuter rush to make his tedious ticket enquiries, he has reached the damn front of the queue and he is damn well going to ask his questions. We shift and mutter, shoot anguished glances at our watches and daggers at his back, as we hear the platform announcer proclaim our doom – the train is about to go. Yet still he makes enquires about connecting trains (just pick up a bloody timetable), the final destination of the 8.45 (timetable! Just over there!), and whether or not there is a train back (f*&king timetable!) before, satisfied, he strolls off, blinking vaguely in bemusement at the puce faced commuters in various stages of apocalyptic despair behind him.

As soon as he goes we rattle off our destinations like well rehearsed automatons, all now hoping for the 8.15. ‘Weekly 1- 5’, ‘monthly 1- 5’, ‘return Moorgate’ – no civil niceties for us, no time to say more than a cursory ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’. We know our part in this play, thank you very much. After 9 is for questions and queries, before 9 is for straightforward demands and exact change / cards at the ready. And if you are very lucky, a muffin.

2 comments:

musicobsessive said...

Oh Dear! Welcome back to the real world! I gave up this sort of blood-pressure-rising scenario years ago and am now the proud owner of an Oystercard which self-replenishes itself from my credit card whenever it about to run out (see Oystercard website for details). So much easier, but possibly not as cheap. Still, I'll pay for a bit of piece of mind on a Monday morning.

Oh, was that you behind me in the queue when I was asking all those questions?...only joking...

Jayne Ferst said...

Ha - thanks for the welcome! Sadly where I live isn't covered by the Oyster card, which is really annoying! So for now, it is the Monday morning queue for me...

I shall test out whether you get on my train by playing Kiki Dee at full volume and seeing which fellow travellers look pleased... I suspect I'll be able to eliminate most :)