Punctuation station

Every morning I see this sign on the door to the control room at London Victoria underground station

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Obviously this room is out of bounds to commuters.

But this sign also suggests the same applies to station staff and contractors.

So, who CAN enter this room? 

Maybe only those people capable of using punctuation.

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Occupeed

I finish work at 5.30pm, so at 5.25pm I thought I’d nip to the toilet to empty my increasingly aching bladder before the 2 hour journey home.

2 cubicles. Both in use.

Alright, that’s fine. I’m clearly not the only one who’s had that idea.

I waited for 3 or 4 minutes before deciding the occupants were clearly masturbating or dead and gave up. There are another 2 cubicles near the entrance to the building so I thought I’d use those on my way out.

Both also in use.

I waited outside for about 5 minutes, calling out loudly to my wife sat in reception that “I won’t be long as I’m just waiting for these people to finish using the toilet!”

Despite there being noises from within, including flushes and the washing of hands, they weren’t taking the hint or showing any signs of emerging.

“I think they’ve fallen in darling, they’re taking forever!”

Still nothing. I think I heard one of them re-sit down for another performance.

What were they doing in there?

I decided, with bursting bladder and a wife reminding me that we could miss our train, that we should leave the office.

A full bladder is one thing, but proving my wife right is another!

So we left and joined the throng of London commuters and their inept sense of direction.

I tell you, attempting to navigate heaving crowds and packed underground trains with a hairpin bladder is an adventure. A nervous, sweaty adventure.

We made it to Victoria station and straight onto the train. Unfortunately, because we’d left the office so late, the train was really busy.  Thankfully there were 2 seats available at a table, so my wife and I grabbed them.

I removed my shoulder bag and put it on my seat like a tourist with towel on a sun lounger.

“Watch my bag, I really need to use the toilet!” I said, hopping from one leg to the other.

I walked through to the other carriage and found the cubicle.

In use.

Fuck!

I waited.

I waited longer.

I looked at my wife in the other carriage in disbelief.

I even asked some kids I’d they’ve seen anyone go into this toilet (in case it’s out of order).

“Yeah, a girl went in there, innit”

Eventually, after 10 minutes I gave up and joined my wife.

We’re still sat on the train and the toilet is still occupied.  We’ve been on this train for 45 minutes.

I’m about to test the absorbency of these seats.

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Getting your fear on track

This morning I saw a man on the London Underground accompanied by his wife who was dressed in a Burka.

Some people unfairly assume that, being a Muslim, he is probably up to no good like bombing the train or something equally insane.

This is, of course, ridiculous. It is an irrational fear created by the few extremists out there ruining it for the rest.

I have to say that I disagree with the oppressive nature of the burka, despite the excellent UV protection it provides.  Having said that, I do have Muslim friends and my experience has taught me that their religion is no more or less peaceful than any other (except maybe Buddhism).

Also, this dude had his wife with him.  There isn’t a man alive (or dead) who wants to be greeted by 72 virgins with his wife!

Unless that’s their thing.

Which I doubt.

So I wasn’t worried.

However, this guy was wearing a T-shirt that wasn’t doing him any favours whatsoever.

It read:

I must not think bad thoughts

I must not think bad thoughts

I must not think bad thoughts

 

Hilarious.

There were some uncomfortably sweaty people on the train this morning.

train-scream

Common sense gets the shaft.

This morning at Goodge Street Underground station I heard the following announcement:

“Ladies and Gentlemen; please be aware that lift number four is currently out of service while we perform essential routine maintenance”.

Fair enough.

There are no escalators at Goodge Street station but there are four lifts*, so we’d either use one of the three remaining lifts or take the spiral stairs to the surface; all 136 of them.

Fuck.  That.

But the announcement didn’t stop there (although I wish it had); “Please use the remaining lifts one to three, or take the spiral stairs”.

Oh my god I am so thankful they told us that otherwise we could’ve been stuck down there for days.

state the obvious

*Or ‘elevators’ to our American brethren who may be confused**

**At the word ‘lift’.

Seeing Red

I had trouble walking through London Victoria station this morning due to some idiot in front of me pulling a big red holdall on wheels.

Slowly.

I tried as hard as possible to pass him, but he blocked me at every attempt; zigzagging like a shark swimming through an ocean of directionless pillocks….sorry, pollocks.

Is it wrong that I wanted to punch him out of the way?

He was a menace, nearly taking out my legs and those of others around me.  He was oblivious to the carnage he was leaving in his wake.

It might also explain why his bag was red; stained with the shin blood of the capital’s masses.

Eventually I managed to get past him and felt the same sense of freedom as overtaking a tractor on a narrow country road.  I had the urge to run through the station, flailing my arms in the air screaming “Yes! Yes!  I’m free!!”, but I decided against it as I wasn’t entirely convinced my wife would join in.

Although she IS American, so there was a chance.

Still, I wasn’t going to chance it and frankly I was just too tired.

The excitement and energy of passing the holdall hauling halfwit meant I really didn’t have the strength to do anything but place one foot in front of the other.

Anyway, we traversed the concourse and headed towards the underground station, joining the throng of people shoving themselves through the entrance.

As we joined the back of the crowd, there in front of me was the big red holdall on wheels.

How the fuck?

I looked behind me in case there was another big bag bearing bell-end, but only saw a trail of hobbling commuters; limping and clutching their shins.

I turned back in disbelief and it was then that I noticed the writing on his bag:

‘London Fire Brigade – Keeping London Safe’

(clenches fist)

punch a shark

The accidental pugilist

Another normal* morning on London’s fine underground network system.  The masses and I were stood on the platform awaiting the next oversized Pringles can to arrive and whisk us away.

Soon enough it arrived and the doors wheezed open as we all stood back to allow the shuffling morons off.  We made sure to wear our customary scowls as they did so, before pushing and shoving onto the train; desperate to fill the void left in their wake.

As we crammed on I noticed that the woman in front of me had a shitload of space in front of her, but wasn’t moving into it.  I’m not sure she realised the loud voice over the tannoy telling us all to “move down inside the carriage and use all available space” applied to her.

Those straddling the gap between the train and the station did.

I concluded that common sense should “move down inside the brain and use all available space”, but quickly dismissed that as futile and instead tried to push past her.

She wasn’t having any of it.

I’m 6 feet tall and this little twat was only about 5 feet tall, so it was inevitable I was going to succeed in pushing past her.  This was a further indication that common sense eluded her.

Never before have the words “Mind The Gap” been so appropriate.

Despite her best efforts I shoved past her and lifted my arm to grab the handrail bolted into the ceiling.  In the process of pushing past this brainless bint and raising my hand at the same time, I succeeded in punching a seated man in the side of the head.

Yes, that’s right; I punched a stranger.

This wasn’t a light brushing or a mild scuff; it was a full on, four knuckled, unrestrained smack across the side of his head.  In fact, the force of it was strong enough to cause his head to jerk wildly to the side.

I looked down, ready to apologise profusely and lay blame with the stubborn bitch who should’ve been the one to punch him instead of me, when I saw that he hadn’t even looked up from his phone.

Nothing.

No reaction.

What the fuck?

He just sat there and continued playing Angry Birds as if he gets punched by strangers all the time.

“So how many was it today Dave?”

“Only 3.  Although I did get a headbutt in the nuts from a midget”

I’m sure there’s a joke in here somewhere about a punchline.

oops punch

*who am I kidding?

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