At the time of writing I am currently stuck on a train somewhere between the real world and Birmingham New Street. I have only phone and Nintedo DS with a dead battery to sustain me. After an hour of sitting here my mind is desperately trying to think of a way to recharge a battery using only my hair and a handful of fluff I found at the bottom of my bag. I cant survive on Angry Birds for much longer…
I’ve been playing for so long all I can think about are piglets weeping over little round coffins…. war is hell.
For reasons beyond my understanding the trains conductor seems to have taken a wrong turn somewhere back by the Five Ways round-about and has driven us all down an abandoned mine shaft. I can only guess that this is fact the approach to New Street Station. The horror builds in the pit of my stomach. For those of you who have never visited this joyous little cavernous abyss, just picture Thomas the Tank Engine meets The Descent.
So why am I heading there? At this stage I really can’t remember. I’ve been stuck here so long I think my eyes are healing over. My spine is degenerating into a hardened exoskeleton and soon my arms will have withered down to nothing. Above me it could be either midday or midnight. I hope its midday, as midnight in Birmingham usually involves getting covered vomit sooner or later.
The conductor has just told us that the ‘slight delay’ has been caused by congestion at the station. This question has probably been addressed before, but just how do you manage to get a congested train station? They’re on tracks. I’ve seen those massive model railways they have down in Cornwall. Hundreds of little engines scurrying about little cardboard hills and comedy nudist beaches. That’s all controlled by just one man with a dial, and they do alright. Why can’t full size trains just work in the same way? When I was three I had a Duplo train set that was more effectively managed, that’s even after I had eaten the wheels.
Terrified Lego citizens flee their plastic town as it is devoured by an unstoppable 3 year old.
My thinking is that we need to copy Japan. Last year, only one in sixty-four million of their trains was late, as is my understanding. We (that is the people England-land) designed the steam engine, and now they get to lord it over us with their reliable, clean, wide-gauge railways? That’s not fair. Although as a side note I do have a suspicion that maybe their network is not as comfortable as they make it out be. I’ve seen that video, with the men in white gloves stuffing people onboard like they’re trying to put away a Pac-a-Mac. I want to see the video from the next stop, when the doors open and everyone sprays out like a bizarre Mentos-Coke Fountain of Japanese commuters.
I am not an expert, (although this is the internet so screw it, I’ll say I’m High Professor of Trains if that makes people listen to me) but why not an extra carriage, Japan? Yes I know people will say ‘but then it will be too long for the platform’. But screw the platform. If you are prepared to cram onto a packed train and come out flatter then the Coyote at the end of a particularly unsuccessful Roadrunner episode, then surly you will be prepared to stand in the mud? Anyway, I should not be so quick to criticise other countries transport systems when in writing the last three paragraphs I’ve only moved about three feet and that was only to throw my hair-fluff power source out the window before it went into melt down.
Picture: Legitimate Transportation Alternative
So what is the solution then? Other than killing myself with the cord from my underpants? I would like to go on record as having been the first to suggest an endless train. One that just keeps going around and back on itself like an escalator. It could be done. Just mind the gap as you leap on and remember to tuck and roll when you dive off again.
Someone, I can’t remember who, suggested paving over the train lines and using them as extra motorways. Okay, I can see that. Filling Birmingham New Street with concrete is an interesting idea. I have a list of other buildings we could bury while we are at it. But are you not just as likely to get stuck on a motorway as you are on a train? On a train you may not be guaranteed a seat, but at least you don’t have to be constantly worrying about the truck driver on his mobile. Unless he’s on the seat next to you, playing Hip-Hop at a volume that would overpower a shuttle launch. Nor do you have to worry about the million other little metal murder boxes sharing the road with you; cutting across lanes and generally shuffling around you like a high-speed Rubix cube of death.
Car or train, basically, we’re boned. Save up for a hovercraft. (Or dig up all major cities and move them closer move together.) Maybe I’m being too hard on the British Transport Network… No wait. No I’m not. The sodding train’s just moved thirty centimetres and stopped again. Maybe there’s a leaf on the line in the tunnel. If so, maybe they would like me to go and pick it up for them.
Now I grow weary and my eyes are dimming… if this rambling rant makes it to the internet, it means I somehow survived. Possibly by eating the chewing gum I found had been used to stick a ticket to the window. If not, someone call for International Rescue.
I’m at that funny sort of age now when I am finally starting to recognise that I’m not a kid any more. I’ve battled honourably to resist it, but the the bonds of time are finally starting to take their toll and I know that soon will go to join the world of mortgages, illogical weight-gain and being concerned about gas rates.
There are certain things that it seems only adults say or do and more and more frequently I find it is me who is saying them and doing them.
The other day I told a colleague I just needed to step out and move my car. I instantly felt disgusted with myself. Moving ones car might seem like a perfectly harmless thing to do, but lets analysis what it means a bit more…
Firstly the fact that I have a ‘colleague’ is sort of scary. Young people have ‘co-workers’ or ‘that guy I work with’. Adults use ‘colleague’. It implies that they have in a place long enough to understand that using a politically correct term is the only way they will continue to advance their career. Its a way of safely describing someone who you spend most of your time with but may not essentially like, and when you know you could well have much more time with them left to come… but this is all stuff for another day.
Back to the car. Firstly, the sentence ‘I’m just going to move my car’ shows that you are in fact old enough to drive a car (the horror). That means you are probably not still playing with your toy soldiers (unless you a general) or watching Saturday morning cartoons (which you would not do anyway because Saturday morning cartoons suck these days). But that’s okay right? You could still be young enough to be to be wild and free right? Nope.
I should clarify that I needed to move my car because I was in a 30 minute zone, and had been there for 40. Now I don’t want to make a crude generalisation but on the whole young people are reckless and crazy. They are happy to wildly park for 40 minutes in a 30 minutes zone, because they are reckless and crazy enough to take that risk. Its a Saturday, so the parking man probably is not even on. Young people still have that sense of optimism that allows them to drink vodka and dish soap with out fear of consequence.
But when you are an adult, you know that world is dark and depressing. You know that with your luck the parking man is working today, and probably just as annoyed about working on a Saturday as you are. He will slap you with a parking fine simply because he hates you, your car and everything you stand for. He also hates your dog.
So when I say ‘I’m just going to move my car’ its not a simple matter of avoiding a fine, its a sign that all light and hope in your has been crushed. Thats when you really start feeling like a grown up.
An old person apparently.