Monday, November 07, 2011

How to miss a train

I used to be very angry. It's probably because I had a very stressful job and let it get to me. These days, I'm not really angry, unless I've got a deadline or I've discovered a mug from the dishwasher has been unloaded incorrectly.

And then... on Saturday, I made myself miss a train. I left my flat to get to Paddington. I had an hour before my train. You can walk it in that time.

I had several opportunities to catch that train. When I got onto the underground and realised they were running that special Saturday service where they switch off most of the lines - I could have turned around and walked away. Got a cab. Walked. Hired a rickshaw.

Instead I tried to get to Paddington using the Metropolitan Line. Not since Sherlock Holmes found the Bruce Partington Plans has anyone used the Metroplitan Line to get anywhere. But I had a go. Sitting next to me on the train was a woman rocking and crying "I'm going to miss it, fuckit fuckit fuckit". She was actually sobbing. I nearly comforted her, but she glared at me.

Oddly the time I'd reached Baker Street, I was in almost the same state. Like I'd caught it off her. I still had half an hour. I could still walk to Paddington in half an hour. But no. I decided, against advice from a nice man on the platform... I decided to catch a bus.

You know those people... on buses... who the driver makes an announcement about "We're not moving until the man with the ikea bag gets off"... I was that person. Suddenly, my Oyster card had expired, or something. And I was just stood there, like an angry mad thing, saying "Honestly!" and rolling my eyes. At an empty bus stop. As though I expected London to care. London doesn't care. That's its charm.

So I tried to catch a tube to Paddington again. And I missed my train by a minute.

The lesson here is that, next time it all gets a bit much, I'll either get a cab, or actually just try, rather than simply start shaking like a washing machine full of stress and socks.

The other thing that puts it into perspective - slow train journey, changing at Bristol Parkway and all, is that I was trying to get to Taunton. Which - the night before - had just had a horrific traffic pile up.

"Sorry I'm late," I said to my Dad on the phone. "It's been a nightmare."

"No, no it hasn't," said my Dad, and got on with banging nails into his new shed.

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