Saturday, March 08, 2008

Transportation Anticipation

[b] This was written last Thursday on the 28th Feb, sorry for the delay! (yeah, like you care lol!)[/b]

Ok so I'm writing this post in TextEdit on the train back home, so this will be posted after the event but the long and short of it is that I am hopefully about to pick up my shiny new(ish) Matt Mobile (as it will be named until such a time as Hannah names it properly). Rather helpfully the public transport system has chosen to continue highlight the wisdom of this otherwise ludicrous seeming purchase.

Firstly, luggage. I've brought a messenger bag, a small rucksack and a laptop bag. I needed an extra bag as I am away until next Wednesday and Mr Maccy the laptop because I am on call later. Even these relatively small items can cause quite a lot of trouble on things like busses and trains, but I am a seasoned veteran and have long since worked out the best way of getting your bags to inhale. No matter how good you are though, any luggage larger than an Oyster card holder earns you scowls and frowns from anyone on the Tube. Child murderers are greeted with more friendly glances than anyone daring to carry luggage.

So I leave my house at a little after 9:15am, catch the bus which is about 15 minutes late at 9:45. Pensioners scowling at me, but then this is Surrey - most people scowl at you, it's a county where the equivalent of Friendly is 'Less Unfriendly'. Anyway, got a train to Waterloo - less scowls here, was quite a lot of space on this train and it actually managed to arrive on time which was impressive - public transport making a last ditch effort to retain my custom!

The efforts were in vain thanks to a guy, I don't know his name - let's just call him Vapid Organ Sack or VOS for short. Don't get me wrong, I understand why bluetooth headsets exist - they are good for people with no arms. And that is it. You shouldn't be on the phone when you are driving, no one is that important and if you think you are the get in the line marked 'Future Bio-Fuel'. Anyway, that point is moot because this particular gimp was on a train with one of those unnecessarily big blue-tooth jobbies on his ear. I work in IT, I've seen what a bluetooth aerial looks like and I can assure you nothing that big is required to hold it - the form factor of those things is purely for people who want to look important, nothing more. VOS proved my point. He was sat on the train, holding his phone IN HIS FUCKING HAND whilst having a lengthy and pointless and loud conversation into his bluetooth ear piece. I can't imagine there was anyone on the other end who could stand to talk to him for that long, I suspect he was trying to make friends with the talking clock.


Vauxhall. I got on a tube train here then appeared to get trapped in some kind of time warp because when I arrived there I had a little over an hour to get to London Euston in order to catch my train, as it was I arrived in Euston with a little under 15 minutes to spare. Most bizarre. Know one really knew why because rather cunningly every time we pulled into a station, the driver would speak over the 2 watt speakers on the train to explain the delay but just as you strain to make out what was being said, the station announcer comes on to warn us to be ever on our guard against suspicious behaviour (Daily Mail definition : Anyone with slightly swarthy skin) on her much more impressive speakers.

Got my train at Euston where I was reminded how fantastic this kind of travel CAN be sometimes. The luggage provision on these things isn't great, which is sort of fine for me with my selection of smallish bags so long as the train isn't too full but for suitcase people it can be a complete nightmare. This guy and his girlfriend got on with the biggest suitcase known to man and were looking for somewhere to put it. I didn't appreciate the size of the thing at this point, I wasn't paying huge amount of attention but I did call him over because the rack near me looked like it could accommodate another case. As it was, his case was too big - at least in the current arrangement. Within about a minute the rack was surrounded by owners of the bags currently in the rack playing a luggage based Bedlam Cube style game in order to get all their belongings plus this new comers case into the rack. It was really pleasant to see to be honest. The extra time spent meant the guy didn't disembark in time (turns out he was just dropping his girlfriend off) and is now doomed to a round trip to Chester, but still.

So now I am hoping we arrive on time, my dad picks me up at Chester station to drive back to Wales so I can proceed to get the car. I know me though, something will almost certainly go wrong, I will have forgotten something fundamental so I can't get the car or I will forget to turn the steering wheel or something.

So this is the most efficient journey home public transport has to offer and by the time I get there I will have taken a little over 5 hours - which really isn't that bad at all. By car it's anywhere between 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (or 9 if you are my dad and don't believe in maps or directions). but there is the luggage thing, the convenience thing and the fact I can just go based on my timetable not someone else's. That and the fact that it took me longer to get from Fetcham to Euston that it will from Euston to Chester.

Maybe now they have lost such a valued customer we will get the radical public transport overhaul we have all craved for!

PS - Don't worry I still won't be saying 'I need a car'. If I needed one, I would have bought one that was necessary, not shiny and buttony!

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