My train is severely delayed. Due to ice. I don’t want to be too harsh on the train companies, seeing as they are my primary method of travel, but surely, in a country such as this, where ice is not exactly uncommon, they should have some sort of contingency plan? I’m pretty grumpy about it actually – I got a 7am train, I’m cold and I haven’t had breakfast. And now I can’t have my pre-work nap, which makes turning up for a ten hour shift feel like turning up for a prison sentence.
I have just heard over the tannoy that this train is now terminating at Farnham. Oh.
You can probably imagine my wrath, and even the train guard, (who just passed), considered telling me to take my feet off the seat, but then, looking at my wrathful face, obviously thought better of it.
Anyhow, up until this tipping point I had been keeping in generally high spirits by watching the commuters. Commuters are funny. At Woking station I was waiting on the platform right by the station entrance. It had just started to snow and it was all quite magical. The snow gently falling, the quiet hum of the train track, and the clicky clacky sound of a commuter in a skirt suit and heels trying to run with a handbag slung in the crook of her elbow, a coffee in a fancy thermos she was desperately trying to keep upright and a bag for life trailing in her other hand, bashing her ankles with every step. Quite magical. As 7.30 approaches, more and more commuters run into the station and up the steps, over the bridge to platform four. I feel as if I am witnessing a bizarre steeplechase in some glorious sportsday. One commuter clutches a loaf of bread, several are carrying newspapers which flap in the wake of the other runners and one man angrily discards his Metro as if it is making him less streamlined. Taking the corner with a little too much zeal, one commuter drops her phone and the back comes off, dramatically jettisoning the battery. As she scrabbles to pick up the pieces the other commuters have to decide whether to stop and help her or to carry on running, exercising a kind of ‘survival of the fittest’ policy. She eventually rejoins the race, cutting in front of a woman who appears to be wearing pink slipper boots. The slipper booted woman is running with a lot less conviction than the others and I wonder if she had simply popped out for a pint of milk and became engulfed in a wave of commuters. Anyway, to a bystander, this whole circus is really hilarious. Imagine a business man doing that awkward ‘I’m-too-business-like-to-run’ run, multiplied by a hundred. The awkward run characterized by bent knees and outstretched arms, complete with briefcase, as if maintaining a low centre of gravity will add some dignity to the situation (which it doesn’t). Of course, I, standing on a train platform alone laughing uproariously to myself hardly look any more dignified or sane, but at least I got a good laugh out of it.
I’m on the train to Alton finally which means I am right on time for my shift. Or at least I will be – if I run. (:
MTG PV x