I am now of the belief that I was destined to miss every train I am scheduled to get on. Everyone that knows me always jokes that I will probably be late to my wedding, funeral and every other monumental occasion that won’t function without my presence. But this week it dawned on me that there might be some truth to that joke.
I ventured on a week-long vacation to Paris last week. I have a fear of flying so the scary cat in me opted for a five hours long train journey from the North of England to the capital of England to get to the Capital of France as opposed to an hour long plane ride. The things we do when we succumb to our fears, eh!
I could write a verbose on the psychology of how I missed every train but I shall refrain from that because what I realised is that the problem arises from the fact that I take my small town mentality to big cities like London. Of course there is nothing wrong with that if there weren’t any time constraints. I live in a place where everything I need is within five minute radius and thus you cannot possibly be late to anything but often I still am. At those extraordinary times when I do; it is due to reasons out of my personal control. Such as the taxi company not getting my taxi within the prescribed five minutes, or a catastrophe of sorts befalls my wardrobe that day that I am left feeling wardrobe content bereft despite it bursting with clothes. In which case whoever I am supposed to be meeting understands. Maybe because I usually feign catastrophe of different calibre- the type that revolves around my car breaking down and consequently creating an awful traffic jam in the city. Oh it works a treat every time.
The extent of my driving is limited to that of the passenger’s seat.
So I missed my train to London, almost missed my train to Paris and missed my train back home. Not to mention the numerous other trains/tubes I missed whilst travelling in London. By the end of it all I had enough; I just wanted to be reunited with my pillow. Is that too much to ask for? It was turning into a bit of a maze.
For a change I put up a fight, well my lungs and legs did. I always walk at a leisurely pace. Nothing will ever warrant me to run. But that day I felt I owed it to my pillow and my friend to not miss that damned train. I ran like a demented woman with a suitcase up until that point I was struggling to carry. As I got to the platform the train left taking with it my friend and the promise of two hours worth of girly chit chat with it. It wasn’t a dignified scene to say the least but in hindsight it aided my appeal to get on the next train at no extra charge. Had I approached that platform with my usual leisurely pace I am sure the station staff would have been convinced I didn’t care.
I stood there alone, defeated, and battling an asthma attack whilst cursing intermittently through gulps of air. I was now at the discretional mercy of the train station staff. It is never a good thing to be at the discretional mercy of anyone! The long walk back to the front of the platform allowed me to gather my thoughts, how can I get on the next train and avoid the 120 pound fare. Can I bribe the staff with macaroons? Will they accept the train fare in Euros because it was all I had? Will a puppy eyed look win them over? Shall I resort to some seedy tactics that involve the fluttering of my eyelashes and putting my new acquired cup size to a good use (no surgical enhancements here; it is what having a reciprocated love affair with chocolates and carbohydrates does to you).
I was ready to part with my beloved macaroons and feminist idealisms for this.
But I didn’t have to do any of that. In fact I didn’t even have to say a word. Unbeknown to me my friend must have utilised some or all of the above said tactics, maybe she employed new ones I was unaware of. Who knows, all I know is she won me the sympathy card. The lovely station manager took away my train ticket scribbled something on it and stamped it. The only thing he asked me was “what happened”? I simply replied with conviction that “I was stuck in traffic jam”. He had a look of “what traffic jam situation takes place underground” about him.
Thankfully it was left at that. Possible traffic jams within the London underground wasn’t an area I could lend my expertise to.
He said he promised my friend he will get me to my destination that day. In my head I was thinking mate I admire your altruism and everything else but I don’t have the sums you require to upgrade me on the next fast train. Good job I was still amidst a severe asthma attack to utter such nonsense. Because true to his word he got me on the next Sheffield bound train that got me to my destination ten minutes after my friend’s arrival at no extra cost.
Dennis mate if you ever read this, I owe you a macaroon… or two… OK maybe a whole packet of them!!
Was your name even Dennis? Damn it…if you read this and you identify yourself with the hero of this story who was behind the happy reunion of two northern lasses one with pillow withdrawal symptoms …mate really thank you!!
So I got on the next train, my pulse and lung activity somewhat back to normal. I endured the two hours train journey in solitude reflecting back on my innate ability to forever be late to everything and anything. The scenic countryside was too much of a distraction though. It wasn’t long before I started questioning other people’s lifestyle choices… how could someone live in the middle of nowhere and how could they possibly gather all the herd of sheep scattered around the green spaces back to their place of residence .. I believe they call it a farm, no?!
On another note, THANK YOU to all you lovely folks out there who took the time to read, comment and follow this blog. I came back from my holiday to find a burgeoning number of followers and views, something that was far-fetched at the start of this blog. You all deserve a macaroon or two.