Literally figurative

One of the girls at work is feeling a little under the weather today.  She has come out with some choice comments [1].

Firstly we had:

“What is sneezing, exactly?”

This was later followed up with:

“D’you know what?  After this cold is gone, I’m really going to appreciate my nose”

Then we got:

“D’you know what I can’t wait to do tonight?  Have a shower and blow my nose in my hands”

But the worst had to be:

“Oh my god, I feel like shit.  I am literally dying”

Bad use of grammar always grits my shit.

She wasn’t literally dying.  Not unless you count the fact that, technically, we’re all dying from the moment we’re born.

But, let’s be honest, she didn’t mean it like that

No, she was saying that her grim demise was fast approaching solely because of her cold.

This misuse of the word ‘literally’ really bothered me because it simply wasn’t true.

So I stabbed her.

stabby

[1] Bollocks

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All for one…

This morning my train was delayed due to a “passenger being taken ill” on board.

My first clue that something wasn’t right was when a man entered from the adjoining carriage and woke me up by screaming “IS THERE A DOCTOR ON BOARD!??”

No reaction.

“PASS IT DOWN!”

No-one did.

He stood there for a few seconds, shot everyone a contemptuous look and headed back to his carriage.

Once I’d wiped away the drool from my mouth and the shoulder of the woman next to me, I looked out the window and saw we were just outside Clapham Junction, the busiest train station in the UK.  I then looked at my watch and saw that we were running 40 minutes later than usual.

What the fuck?

I soon discovered it was something to do with signalling problems/electrical issues/leaves on the track/frost.  [Delete as applicable…take your pick]

It was at this point, as the train slowly trundled into Clapham Junction (the busiest train station in the UK), that I noticed an unnatural silence in the carriage.  At first I thought it might be due to concern for our fallen comrade in the other carriage, but I soon concluded it was because everyone was thinking the exact same thing as me….

“Don’t stop the train, don’t stop the train, don’t stop the train, don’t stop the train…..”

‘Crackle’

Oh no.

‘Fizz’

Oh shit.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your conductor speaking…”

Please no.

“…it appears the alarm has been pulled in one of the carriages…”

Ah, dammit!

“…owing to someone being taken ill on board.”

Here we go…

Now, I’ve ranted about the delays caused by those ‘taken ill’ before, but that was about the afflicted being on the platform, whereas this time it was someone actually on the train.

After multiple “apologies for the delay” and “awaiting a first-aider” announcements, it occurred to me….

Just take them off the train.

I mean, how ‘ill’ was the person if all we were waiting for was a first-aider?  At no point did the announcements say we were awaiting a surgeon…or a mortician; so why not take them off the train and treat them in the cool, refreshing morning air?

Nope.  As a lot of us feared, the inevitable happened.

The speakers crackled and fizzed to life again and the conductor suggested it might be a good idea we all leave the train and board another one.  After all, there were plenty of trains heading into London as this was Clapham Junction; the busiest train station in the UK.

As you can imagine, this went down as well as a vegan’s fart in a broken elevator with the packed masses who were already very late for work.

Now, I’ve estimated a train carriage holds over 100 people and this was a 12 carriage beast packed tighter that Tom Jones’ trousers, so in effect we had over 1200 rats fleeing a sinking ship.  That’s 1200 moaning, tutting, multi-directional shuffling zombies joining the crowds at the busiest train station in the UK; all heading towards platform 14 to join other equally packed trains full of scowling, miserable sods all unwilling to ‘move down the carriage using all available space’.

Amongst the crowds and mayhem I found a gap on platform 14 and, whilst silently congratulating myself, smugly waited for the next London-bound sardine tin.  Soon enough it pulled up and I discovered why there had been a gap on the platform; I was stood equidistantly nowhere near the train doors.

I couldn’t have positioned myself better if I’d tried.

The doors opened and people started piling off the train.  The rest of us glared at them as we watched the ever increasing space form behind them like a tin of cookies at a Weight-watchers meeting.  I began sizing up my fellow commuters to see who I could take down if the need arose.  The small Chinese woman, the man in front of me with the rucksack, the woman checking her make-up in a portable mirror; I reckon I could take them all with a well placed elbow here and a careful headbutt there.

As it turned out we all got on board.

Lucky bastards.

Mind you, some dude had my arse in his face all the way into London.

Lucky bastard.

Anyway, we arrived into Victoria almost an hour later than usual and everyone made a beeline for the underground station which, for some reason, wasn’t busy at all.  It was actually a breeze getting through the barrier and I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why th……

Oh wait, it was 09:25am.   Of course it was quieter; most people were actually AT work!

Oh well, at least the tube would be a nice end to this nightmare journey.

‘Crackle’

Oh no.

‘Fizz’

Oh shit.

“We apologise that, due to a signalling failure at Brixton, the Victoria line is subject to major delays in both directions”.

Maybe someone should call a first-aider.

Quickly.

Faint

“London Bridge is failing Dan, failing Dan, failing Dan….”

London Victoria underground station was closed tonight due to ‘someone being taken ill’.

Bollocks.

There’s no way someone said “I think I’ve got the flu coming on” and they shouted “Stop everything!”

I suspect it’s a more subtle version of “someone being liquidated by a train”.

If it’s not I can assure you that I, and about a thousand people frantically redirecting to other stations to escape the city like a frantic piss out of a pair of leaky rubber pants, will be hoping they feel better long enough to fall under the next train that’s “not stopping at Victoria”

It was utter bedlam tonight with agitated commuters strutting around directionless looking for an alternative way of getting home, and failing.

I made my way to London Bridge station as I knew I could get home from there and stood waiting for my platform to be announced.

It’s always been platform 5 whenever I’ve travelled from this station so I went through the barrier into the station, up the escalator and waited patiently by the platform entrance.

And waited.

And waited.

It was 6 minutes until my train was due to leave and the platform still hadn’t been announced.

And then….

‘Platform 9’

What??

Where the fuck is platform 9?? There’s only platforms 1 to 6!

Cock!!

I ran down the escalator, back through the barriers, out of the station and saw there was another entrance which had platforms 7 and up.

Grrr!

There is nothing more infuriating than the possibility I was going to miss my train despite having been there for ages!

And, true to form, all the commuters had been switched to ‘slow, ambling, zombie fuckwad mode’; making my run that much more varied with slaloming, hurdles, chicanes, twists, turns and twats at every step.

I bolted through the masses, up the escalator, through the barriers to the platforms and ran (a concept unfamiliar to the cretins around me) down the platform alongside the train.

Ideally I wanted to be at the front of the train, but it was about to leave so I boarded halfway down and continued my journey inside.

It was at this point that some suited prick boarded the train at the next doorway and cut in front of me, only to then stand still.

Oops, my mistake, he WAS walking but at a speed which I could be forgiven for mistaking as ‘stationary’.

In fact, ‘Mr Stop’ here was so piss-achingly slow, I got off the train, walked down the platform and boarded ahead of him (on the same carriage) so I could continue at a pace that actually involved putting one foot in front of the other.

No sooner had I traversed another carriage than a woman did the exact same thing and cut in front of me; moving at sloth-like speed while she decided where to sit on this virtually empty train.

It amazes me how these people function day to day.

I sat down and took out my phone to begin writing this blog entry.

It took around 40 minutes to write (as autocorrect can be a bitch) and, as I sat thinking about how I could end it, I looked up and saw Mr Stop finally taking his seat.

Perfect.

image

Not Helpful Service

Girl –  “Hello, Surgery?” (Went up at the end of the statement so it sounded like a question)

Me –  “Er, hi.  Is this the Medical Centre?”

Girl –  “Mmm hmm”.

Me –  “Oh hello, I’m calling because I need to register a new patient with you”.

Girl –  “Ok”.

(Awkward silence)

Me –  “Erm, it’s for my wife.  She’s American and she’s now resident in the UK, so the next step is to get her registered with a doctor in case she ever gets ill”.

(Long silence)

Girl –  “Right.  Ok.  She just needs to come in, fill in some forms and bring photo identification and proof of address; like a utility bill.  Ok?”

Me –  “Great, thanks.  But she’s from America and has only been here a month so she won’t have a utility bill in her name”. 

Girl –  “She lives in America?”

Me –  “No, she lives here now”.

Girl –  “Is she here, like, forever?”

Me –  “Well, certainly for the next three years”

Girl –  “So she isn’t leaving soon?”

Me –  “I certainly hope not!  Ha ha!”

(No reaction.  Nothing.  A tumbleweed rolls by)

Me –  “No, she has her visa now which means she’s a UK resident.  She just needs to be registered with a doctor and seeing as I’m registered with you, it makes sense she is too”.

Girl –  “Ok.  Well she just needs to come in to fill out some forms and we’ll sort it from there”.

Me –  “Great.  Now, she won’t have a utility bill in her name, but she did recently receive a letter confirming her National Insurance number which has her name and address on it.  Will that do?”

Girl –  “Her ‘what’ number?”

Me –  “Her National Insurance number”.

Girl –  “What’s that?”

(You’ve got to be joking!)

Me –  “It’s the number that is allocated to you so that contributions from your salary are made to the National Health Service for things like, you know, hospital treatment and DOCTORS.  That’s why I’m registering her now”.

Girl –  “Oh, right.  Ok.  So yeah, get her to come in”.

Me –  “Ok, but will that letter be enough or should I get her to bring in a utility bill with my name on it to prove the address?  Obviously we have the same surname”.

Girl –  “Er….let me just check”.

(Oh hold.  For ages)

Girl –  “Hello?”

Me –  “Hi”.

Girl –  “Does she hold a UK passport?”

Me –  “No, she’s American.  It’s an American passport”.

Girl –  “So it’s not a British one?”

Me –  “No”.

Girl –  “Oh right”.

Me –  “I mean, she’s here on a visa so she’s now resident in the UK, so it’s fine.  How do you usually register a patient?”

Girl –  “Er, I’m not sure; hold the line”.

(On hold again)

Girl –  “Hello?”

Me –  “Hi”.

Girl –  “Can I call you back?  I just need to check on this and call you back”.

Me –  “Sure”.

I’m convinced I’ve literally just had this conversation with a bored patient in the doctor’s waiting room who answered the phone because the receptionist was off somewhere having a colossal shit.

receptionist