Uh oh, someone’s in trouble…

Tonight’s train announcement was so good I just had to blog about it.

We were sat at East Croydon station for a prolonged amount of time when the speaker system fired up with….

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductor speaking.  I’m sorry we’re currently being held at the station a little longer than expected. I have no idea why we’re being delayed. There are two platform staff a little further down from me but neither of them have had the decency to come over and actually tell me whats going on, so I’m in the dark just as much as you are. I will be taking it up with their manager as this is a poor example of customer service”.

I sensed the words “wankers”, “twats” and “hapless” were on the tip of his tongue, but I couldn’t be sure.

There were a few smiles amongst my fellow commuters.

I’m pretty sure I actually saw someone high five him as he walked up the train checking tickets. Then again, it could’ve been a slap. I’ve known it to happen.

Crapham’s junction box

The guard on the train has just announced that we will not be stopping at Clapham Junction because the station has had a power cut and the lights aren’t working.

It doesn’t affect me but it clearly affects half the carriage as they all let out a very angry and very audible sigh, in perfect unison.

To be honest, I’m now feeling a little faint from the sudden increase in carbon dioxide.

Granted it’s almost 7pm and its starting to get dark, but as we passed through Clapham Junction it was sumptuously lit up by surrounding houses and street lamps.

Apparently the closure is for health and safety reasons.

I’ve just seen the guard lock himself away for the exact same reasons.

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A massive fumble

The train guard entered the carriage this morning with the usual, “tickets please!”

Today’s guard was a woman.  Well I’m sure she still IS a woman, but this tale is being told in past tense…so shut up.

She started walking down the carriage acknowledging the various cards and plastic ticket wallets being thrust towards her with a nod, a smile and a “thank you”.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

Nod, smile, “thank you”

The businessman in front of me was stood up and fumbling desperately through his backpack that was stuffed into the overhead luggage shelf.

She was getting closer.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

Nod, smile, “thank you”

He was really going to town now; elbow deep in a bag that would’ve been easier to search if he’d actually had the sense to take it down first.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

The guard eventually arrived at him, stopped and said, “Tickets please”.

The man ignored her, continuing to rummage around in a bag that had started to resemble the TARDIS; he was unnaturally shoulder deep.

She waited about 20 seconds before saying, “it’s ok, I’ll come back to you” and continuing on to me.

“I’m trying to get it out but it’s too big”, he replied.

I’m sorry, what?  Did he just say what I thought he just said? (snigger)

The guard grinned, turned and without missing a beat said, “What is?”

I chuckled.  The man didn’t.

Realising this rucksack ransacker hadn’t got the innuendo, she backpedalled with, “oh you mean the ticket?”

“Ah, here it is”, said the humourless bell-end.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

She then looked at me, exchanged a knowing smirk and continued up the carriage.

Nod, smile, “thank you”

Nod, smile, “thank you”

He sat back down and carried on playing Candy Crush or talking bollocks….whichever is more annoying.

Tardis-backpac

Prick-et inspector

“Get back!”

What the fuck?

“Get back!!”

The train guard was shouting through the closed doors of our train at a commuter on the platform who I assume was trying to board.

The doors were shut and you know what that means; the guard now had the undeserved authority to be a prick about it.

I then heard the guard open the doors and shout, “Get back!! This train is ready to depart!!”, and then promptly close the doors.

Hang on, why didn’t he just let the guy on?

Oh yeah, because he’s a prick.

Of course.

A line had been crossed…and it was yellow.

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Fire at the end of the tunnel

This morning’s train journey into work has been a cavalcade of events.

The first annoyance was some tracksuited rudeboy who looked a lot like Akon boarded the train and sat there with headphones on talking into his phone like it was a walkie talkie.

I hate when people do that (see https://headinablender.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/hello-is-anyone-actually-there/)

His voice was a combination of Jamaica and African with a hint of stoner and a large splash of penis. He spoke incredibly loudly and nobody seemed to want to sit near him for some reason.

As the train decided to crawl at fuck all miles per hour, constantly being stopped at red signals and awaiting platforms at various stations, the monotony of the journey was broken by two guards who were checking tickets in tandem.  At first I thought they were doing half a carriage each to save time, but no…we had to provide evidence we’d paid for this embarrassment of public transport a second time.

What I did revel in slightly was the fact that Akon didn’t have a valid ticket. I think he was hoping that the guard, being a black guy, would somehow cut him some slack as a fellow ‘brother’. I’m not being racist; he leaned towards the guard and said “come on brother”.  That was my first clue.

It wasn’t working.

This was evident the second time the guard pointed out that his train pass was in fact a staff pass for London transport and not vaild on trains outside London. Akon feigned ignorance saying he didn’t know and that no one at his company told him.  He was fooling no one and got charged his penalty fare.

It was at this point I decided to have a snooze. After all, the speed this train was going I had at least 6 hours until we reached London.

The train started to get busier and busier. Every time I opened my eyes I was was surrounded by more and more people, all of whom were coveting my seat like a hyena to a feasting pride of lions.

At one point I was woken by a guy loudly offering his seat to a pregnant woman.  The tone of his voice suggested he was pissed off no one else had done it.  The reason I sensed this was because he said “it’s ok fellahs, I’ll make sure she gets a seat”.  I’m sure the woman didn’t feel guilty at all after that.

Soon enough we stopped about 3 stations outside London. The guard’s voice blared over the tannoy in his best broken English to announce that although we had stopped in a station they were not opening the doors as it wasn’t a scheduled stop.  This was despite the fact that the train was crammed solid and there were people collecting outside the doors like children around an ice cream van.

We sat there. We sat there some more. We sat there a bit longer and other passengers I noticed were starting to get restless. The huffing had begun.

The guard’s voice came over the speaker system again to point out that there had been someone taken ill on another train at the next station and we couldn’t move until the ambulance had sorted them out. My fellow commuters had that ‘i’ll give them a reason for an ambulance’ look on their faces and the huffing had evolved into sly comments and moans; desperate for someone to acknowledge them so they could enter into a mutual bitch about the rail service and how late they were going to be for work. The guy opposite me tried, but I was having none of it.

I texted my partner in crime and fellow manager at work, Sarah, to tell her I was running late. She then promptly rang me.

It’s at this stage that I feel it important to point out that the carriage was deathly silent, despite being wall to wall with people.  All that could be heard aside from the huffing and puffing was the click of phones and keyboards, no doubt moaning digitally to the world about the inconvenience they were having to endure on the nice, warm, comfy train.

Sarah told me she had made it into London, but Victoria underground station was closed due to a fire. When I replied “Victoria is closed?” you can only imagine the reaction of my sardined brethren. I took this opportunity to smile and reply with, “I think you’ve just made me the most unpopular person on this train!” .  This earned me a couple of grins but mostly a mass ‘for fuck’s sake’ groan rose from everyone.  They were all staring at me like I’d just laid my manhood across the table and asked anyone if they wanted to plug in my dongle.

Sarah told me she’d decided to attempt getting a bus to work and we ended our call so I could begin fielding questions from my new ‘friends’. They were so happy to hear that the stress was going to continue when they reached London.

The guard came over the tannoy a couple more times to tell us we weren’t moving, which we’d figured out considering the scenery had stopped going past the window.

The guy opposite me stopped huffing and puffing long enough to jokingly ask the pregnant woman if she was planning to go into labour.  Personally I thought she should start looking at good schools because we may be here a very, very long time.

Eventually we started to move and there was an inaudible, but definite, sigh of relief.

Three minutes into our breakneck journey of 1mph the guard then announced there was a fire at Victoria and the underground was closed.

Cue a massive groan.

Everyone looked at me and half smiled. I held my hands up, smiled back and gave my best ‘see I told you…don’t shoot the messenger’ face. Suddenly I felt cool and current with my finger on the pulse of shit going down. Mostly I was just thankful that I was no longer the misguided focus of their blame.

So after 3.5hrs commuting into work and subsequently turning up late, there was nothing I loved more than “so glad you could join us” and “good afternoon” quips from my lovely colleagues.

I need a coffee.  Now.

Pay attention…

The guard on the train just made the usual announcement as we approached a station.

She then stood there for a second, turned to the nearest passenger and asked him; “Did I just say Horsham or Haywards Heath?”  

The guy looked at her with a mortified blank expression and replied with an astute and calculated, “wha, what?”.

“Did I just say Horsham or Haywards Heath?”, she repeated.

He was clearly shitting himself now as other passengers had started to look up from their reading material and were watching; fully aware he didn’t have a clue.

And then, in a heartbeat, she grinned at him and said “You werent even listening were you?”  

Ha ha, awkward.  

She then shrugged, uttered something like “meh” and strolled up the carriage, leaving him to sob gently inside.

Brilliant.