Friday, 24 October 2014

The Leftover Paradox

Friday morning. Usual time. Usual place. An unusual new addition to the station decor this morning:

This was just one cluster. There was a collection of some other cans on the other side of the shelter. And some empty takeout food cartons outside the shelter. So far, so predictably ned-tastic. Until I saw what was lying just a few steps from the takeout cartons - a half-full tub of hummus. 

For some reason, I just can't imagine the kind of get-together to hang out at the shelter (hot date, that one) that involves both swigging from a can of Tennent's lager and enjoying some tasty organic hummus. What exactly would you call that kind of party? Suggestions on a postcard, please.

Onto the tribulation part of the day - train was due at 7.36. At 7.40 the screens were still saying 'On time'. Many folk panto-muttered 'Oh no, it isn't' under their breath. It then changed to read 'Expected 7.44'. At 7.50 we were finally on our way. Only 14 minutes late. All due to a "train fault on this unit". Very reassuring to hear just after we'd got on the train! But we made it.

Friday's tiny triumph

On tonight's journey home, seeing a young male spring up and offer his seat to an elderly woman, only to blush furiously as she thanked him.

It's oh so quiet...

For about five minutes after arriving at the station on Thursday morning, this was my view. Darkness. No people. Not a single solitary soul.

I was beginning to wonder if there had been an apocalypse and I'd slept through it.

Or had there been an unexpected public holiday announcement that I'd missed?

Or, less dramatically and more realistically, that the trains had been cancelled, and everyone else had remembered to check the train running times before they left the house.

Six minutes after my arrival, all those thoughts were abandoned as the trail of commuters to the train shelter began.

You can tell a lot by how people act at train shelters. Some classic types that I have observed in my decade and a half of commuting are:

  • The Doorway Hoggers - obviously experts at the Hokey, Cokey; they won't actually come into the  the shelter itself, but they don't want to stand outside either. So they hover in the doorway, making it impossible for anyone to get in without dancing around them. They're determined to be first on the train, so when the train comes, you won't get past them until they're good and ready to move.
  • The Sleepwalkers - it's way too early for them. They get in the shelter, preferably in the corner and lean themselves up against the stand, and zone out till the train comes. They're a peaceful sort to have around.
  • The Drama Students - ok, so they may not actually be studying drama, but they sure know how to project their voices. 'Private conversation' is a concept unfamiliar to them. Brian Blessed would envy their ability to ensure that everyone in the shelter (and within a two mile radius) can hear every syllable of their conversations.
  • The Non-Commuter - they don't normally travel at this time of day. They're taken aback by the number of people waiting for the train. They're carrying at least three highly impractical luggage items. Every two minutes they exclaim how busy it is, and ask if there's something big happening today, not quite able to believe this is normal. This constant refrain is only interrupted by them asking over and over if they're at the right platform and asking person after person if this train stops at their desired station. You want to help them, and they're sweet; but sweet very quickly turns to sickly. So, you can only take these in small measures.
There are more, but I'll leave these for another day.

Thursday's tiny triumph

 I got a single seat in the journey in. No being wedged out of the way by someone's bag!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ready, steady, go!

My personal twitter feed and facebook page have become a home for all my travel commentary. Whether it's my shock at how some people behave on public transport, discussing the running of our transport services, or relaying lovely or puzzling snippets of random overheard conversations, it's been in my head, and so has found its way to my social media.

So, I'm making it official. This little blog shall be my new channel for all commuting-related chat. And believe me there's plenty to talk about!

I leave my house just after seven every morning, to walk to the train station (ok I quite often get the bus), where I board a train to town, and arrive at work just before 8.30am. I then do the same in reverse in the evening. That means that even on a good day, I average 2.5 to 3 hours commuting. That's a whole lot of blog material right there.

So, settle down and enjoy the journey with me...