You, shall not, PASS!

The place – London Victoria Station.

The time – 07:29am.

The scene – Hundreds of ‘cheerful’ commuters ploughing through the ticket barriers with an assortment of tickets and cards.

At times the barriers decide to have a hissy fit and refuse to open.  This could be for several reasons:

  • Your ticket or card has become unreadable.
  • You’re travelling in peak hours on a leisure fare.
  • You’re carrying several bags, boxes and children.

The machines love preying on those who need the barriers to open more urgently than anyone else.

These bastards know; (whispers) they KNOW!

However, this morning there were no commuters carrying anything heavier than furrowed brows and a desire to get through the barriers quickly.  This is when these automated arseholes prefer to strike; picking off the weakest of the herd and testing their patience to the limit.

Today was no different.

A woman strutted up to a barrier, pressed her Oyster card against the card reader, received the usual ‘beep’ and continued strutting, only to be virtually impaled on the unopened barriers.   This can be frustrating at the best of times, but when you’ve got a queue of 20 or more people behind you, it is also incredibly embarrassing.

She tutted and pressed her card against the reader again.

‘Beep’

The barriers didn’t open.

The air suddenly felt thick with silent rage and suppressed violence from those behind her.

“Oh come on!” she half shouted as she slapped her card against the reader.

‘Beep’

The barriers didn’t open.

“Oh for fuck’s sake!”

Slap!

‘Beep’

Slap!

‘Beep’

“Come on you fucking thing!”

Slap slap slap!

‘Beep’

The barriers remained closed and the queue behind her was getting longer and longer like some massive dickheaded snake.

Instead of admitting defeat and seeking the help of a guard, she did something that inspired me to write this post; she began ramming herself against the barriers shouting “come on!”

Over and over she thrust herself against the barriers, trying to squeeze through the unyielding and un-widening gap.  It had eluded her that it was called a barrier for a reason.

Slam!

“Come on!”

Slam!

“You bastard, come on!”

Slam!

“Gnn!”

Slap slap slap!

‘Beep”

Slam!

I noticed the snake had started to dissipate and join other queues, but a few people stayed behind to watch this woman meltdown before their eyes.  I don’t blame them.

She eventually relented and went, bloodied and bruised, to find a guard.

‘Beep’

I went through.

train barrier

Fate? Or futile?

This morning my journey into work started with a delayed bus that got me to the station later than I’d hoped. I still managed to catch my intended train, but I had to run…which in work attire first thing in the morning, when my limbs are creaky and cold, tends to resemble a newborn deer; gangly and awkward.

Having made my train and rewarding myself with a mental high five I settled down into an empty seat and looked forward to my nap. This morning’s nap would be exceptionally enjoyable as I was on an earlier train today and I knew I didn’t have a mentally insane power walk the other end.

Half way into the journey the driver announced, whilst sat at a station, that there was a technical difficulty with the doors and we wouldn’t be going anywhere for at least 20 minutes.

Great.

So I settled into a nice deep sleep, which resulted in snorting myself awake when the driver’s voice came over the tannoy again (see previous blog entry: ‘Wakey Wakey’)

I finally made it into London, 2 minutes before I need to be at work; 20 minutes away.

Time to be Bambi again.

And the delays didn’t stop there.

I got stopped by two people whose Oyster cards wouldn’t let them through the barrier, a woman who kept stopping with her suitcase without warning, a train that was held in the station for 3 minutes (which equates to 3hrs overground) due to a stop signal, a guy on the escalator who was more preoccupied with his kindle than walking up the escalator (he got a sharp jab in the ribs for his efforts), and an elevator that finally moved after the doors opened and closed 6 times.

What is it with doors today??

So all in all, quite a prolonged commute into work. Perfect for a Monday.

I can only hope that fate had a plan and, by delaying me, ensured I avoided being hit by a car, mugged, shot, blown up or (worst of all) being stopped by charity people with dreadlocks and clipboards.