Monday, 30 March 2009

My daily exorcise

random photo of Cornwall that is completely unrelated to what follows below.

I feel the urge to moan a bit. For the most part I am the most laid back person on the planet, so laid back that I am practically upside down. But lately something has begun to irk me, just a tad.

My daily traintrips.

But before I rant, I must say, for the most part the train system in the UK is amazing! The trains are relatively punctual and heated, and the seats are comfy, and the odds of being mugged on a train is basically nil. And most of the passengers are dead silent and well behaved.

Lately though, certain things have started to get to me:

  • I travel at peak times
  • There are almost never any free seats at peak times
  • this means we have to stand between carriages by the toilet, or sit on the floor
  • I have a back injury where my vertebral joints slip out of place and it really hurts me to stand or sit on the floor for prolonged periods
  • we are charged more than double to travel in peak times. This is a laugh. There are always comfortable seats available in off-peak times. Surely we should be paying at least half in peak times for the privelege of of standing with our noses pressed to the fragrant toilet door? In fact I reckon my average trip feels about £2 worth, instead of £25.

Then there was the INCIDENT. There is always an incident that pushes one over the edge, not so? It was a one off but it sure sticks in my mind:

I was heading from work in Oxford to Birmingham, which is a  longer trip than normal for me. Lucky lucky. On this day the train was so packed that there was not even any floor space to sit on. We stood like sardines literally squeezed against the toilet.

This very day a horde of army recruits had been let loose for their night on the town. They were all hideously drunk and drinking more and more. They all needed to pee every two minutes. They stumbled up and down the aisle in which there was barely enough space to breath, rubbing their sweaty alcoholic selves all over us. They were either all from Liverpool or just beyond drunk, I have to admit it is difficult to tell the difference sometimes. But I still love the Scouse accent ok? It rocks.

But this was nothing.

There was this dude, not related to the army, who was off his head on something. He too needed to pee every two minutes. But he could not actually walk. He bounced from seat to person to wall. These two huge silent stone cold sober men followed him wherever he went, like weird guardian angels. I think they were from another dimension.

For his final toilet trip he stumbled into us and then literally fell into the actual toilet bowl. We closed the door on him and he started screaming and punching the toilet walls when he couldn't figure out how to get out. We opened the door for him. He was covered in blood. He was not able to do up his fly. He lurched out at us, and then fell into the baggage rack, dingle-dangling all the while. 

His two bodyguards escorted him back to his seat wherebye he started screaming and trying to punch them, and begging them to punch him. They stood over him, staring at him intently, blocking him off from the rest of us. They tried to give him water and at this point he went ballistic, kicking and screaming inaudibly. They kept staring silently. It was like being at an exorcism or something. Those two guys were like the priests.

When we arrived at the next stop pretty much everybody skedaddled off that train asap.

So yeah, forgive me for being an old granny but I do wish that
  1. alcohol could be banned on trains
  2. they would add more carriages to  trains so there would be a faint hope of getting a seat
  3. first class coaches could be abolished. It hacks me off to be in pain standing while only one seat is occupied in first class.
  4. they would charge less than laughable amounts for sitting on their floors
  5. they would use air freshener
  6. train exorcisms could be kept to a minimum. They can be a bit noisy.

I must be getting old like, but I prefer my exorcisms on the telly or at the pictures, what what?


Dash said...

there's some great emails always doing the round about how to keep an elevator to yourself. Maybe you could employ some of those techniques. For example, greet everybody as they step on the train "Hello Captain".

Miss T said...

ALL alcohol should be banned oon any public transport...well at least for those who can't cope. Glory the drunk men I have had to sit next to on planes would sober anyone!

LadyFi said...

I think that alcohol is banned on trains in Britain... it's just that no one knows this!

Apart from banning exorcisms and drunk army men, it would be good if they also banned dingly-dangly bits out of male trousers too.. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help giggling at that... I feel your pain. Hopefully they read your blogs and take account.

You could get loony on there... people will make space for you :P

6000 said...

And he had the carriage to himself.
Who's the silly one here?

po said...

Dash: good idea, but that will probably just scare off the quiet sane passengers, I doubt anything would scare off the loony ones!

Miss T: I wish.

Ladyfi: I don't think so because they sell wine at the onboard shops!

PaulaAL I hear everybody complaining on the train, but what to do? Strike? We are all too chained to our jobs to really bother to do anything, especially in the current unstable job market.

6000: I think we all thought it was best to let him be exorcised/go cold turkey/whatever the crap was going on, in peace.

Helen said...

Wow, that's quite a story! I wonder wo the priest/bodyguards were! I guess at least you have somewhat reliable public transport, while we await the gautrain...

Pretty picture by the way!

po said...

Helen: possibly his dealers?

Yeah the public transport is awesome in comparison to SA. That is for sure.

However there were always free seats on the trains in Cape Town, hmm, although that is not that surprising!

Rox said...

Ugh, I hate trains. It's quite cool walking to work actually - I don't get traffic or any of the downsides to public transport... and in summer especially it's a nice way to start the day.

po said...

Rox: I like walking too, but I can't walk this far!

Actually the British trains are impressive, I am impressed, but not by the crazy people or the lack of seats!

Caroline said...

Entertaining post. I'm so glad I don't have to go through that every day!