‘Tap tap tap’
“We’re at Victoria”
Oh, er, thanks.
I love being woken, mouth open and dribbling, by a complete stranger on a carriage full of onlookers who are all stood up waiting to get off the train.
A great start to the day.
This evening at Victoria station could have been described as bedlam. Or, alternatively, bat shit crazy with a massive dose of dumb fuckery.
Basically there had been a power cut and the electronic display boards (that tell the sheep which platform their train will be departing from) weren’t working properly. By this I mean they were ON, but not displaying anything except ‘please listen for announcements’; a big issue for display boards methinks.
I soon realised this when I’d spied a small, aggressive, uniformed woman stood at the front of the bleating flock with far too much power and a megaphone.
Despite this, a lot of the sheep were still stood under the undisplaying boards, looking up with dead eyes and mouths agape, expecting the magic orange words to change from ‘please listen for announcements’ to which platform they needed to be herded to. A lot of them were drooling.
I stood amongst the dumb flocks and waited for little Miss Megaphone to point us in the right direction. She kept talking into her radio and I wondered if she was calling in a couple of sheepdogs in high vis jackets to get the masses to their platforms. Maybe the megaphone was reserved for whistles and the occasional “good boy!”.
I hoped so.
Alas, she pointed it at the crowd, pressed the trigger and cleared her throat. The old woman next to her jumped so hard her teeth fell out.
Ok, not quite…but she could’ve cleared her throat quietly BEFORE using the amplification qualities of this vocal menace.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!”
A few of the sheep looked down from the undisplays, closed their mouths and wiping away their drool to focus on what she had to say.
“PLEASE BE AWARE THAT DUE TO A POWER CUT EARLIER TODAY THE BOARDS ARE NOT DISPLAYING ANY PLATFORM INFORMATION… !”
She then began to list off all the upcoming trains and their platforms. A lot of the sheep amazingly ignored her and looked back up at the undisplay boards, resuming their open mouthed drooling. The floor was becoming shiny.
“THE HORSHAM TRAIN WILL BE DEPARTING FROM PLATFORM 17”
“Excuse me” interrupted a small woman.
“Is this the Horsham train?”, asked the woman pointing to platform 17.
“Yes it is.”, said the unamplified harbinger of trains.
“Thankyou”. As she trotted off I saw her ask another guard which train was stood at platform 17.
If it’s not displayed in orange and black then the seed of doubt starts to grow. What is wrong with people? Are we that reliant on technology that we don’t trust a person? Who do you think supplies the (un)display boards with information in the first place? R2-fucking-D2?
Typically my train was the only one running late. This resulted in more blank, drooling stares at the boards as if somehow the megaphoned harpy or the constant audio announcements were somehow misinformed.
Finally my train was announced and the flock surged forward, being filtered through the barriers like sheep through a dip.
Some of us slipped.