I’m jealous of people who use blogs properly - people who actually write things; interesting articles about having epiphanies while knitting at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, or musings on minimalist coasters and other such day-to-day occurrences (because we all experience minimalist coasters on a day-to-day basis).
This is by no means heralding a sudden change in my blogging standards. I will continue to post pictures and videos that amuse me, captioned with either ‘LOL THIS IS DEAD FUNNY’ or ‘omg so true’.
1) I’m not really sure that Vanessa Hudgens is the type of person who would ‘see the inner beauty’ in others. I don’t know why I get that feeling, I just do. [re: Beastly]
2) The downside of playing pool is getting blue chalk all over your WHITE POLO SHIRT. Perhaps if I stopped flinging the pool cue around while waiting to take my shot, I would learn. Perhaps not.
3) MY NEW FAVOURITE MUSIC BLOG is La.Ga.Sta. - mainly because it’s where I found the new Apparat track, but also because they give me lovely new songs to listen to every day.
4) I’m doing a play tonight. It’s called Interior Designer of My Own Downfall. It’s very good; you should come and watch. It’s at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden at 9:30pm. Tickets can be purchased here: http://bit.ly/eS4d93. No-one’s going to read this who hasn’t read this somewhere else before, so I don’t know why I’m writing it.
5) In honour of Yuri Gagarin, I’m thinking about what I would have done, had I been the first man in space. I probably would have eaten some Wine Gums, recited some Shakespeare (most likely screamed “I DEFY YOU, STARS!” out of the window), and then blogged about it. (I am, of course, assuming that I would have been doing this in 2011, rather than 1961. Although I suppose I would have written about it in a journal… maybe in 140 characters or less.)
Subtitle: An excessively long blog post, born from an unending feeling of guilt and/or shame.
So a couple of weeks ago, I went to Cambridge on the train. It was a Friday evening, after work, and I kind of just wanted to go home and eat/sleep with reckless abandon. However, I did want to see the play that I had already paid an excessive £17 for (bearing in mind this was a student production - it made me long for the days of Durham Student Theatre’s £4.50 tickets), so I hopped on the Victoria line and headed for LDN KX.
In retrospect, I should have booked my ticket in advance, because it cost about £13 for a single, which was double what I was hoping it would be and already put my expenses for this theatre trip at £30. Nonetheless, I joined the queue at the ticket machine to purchase my ticket and bask in the glory of rush-hour at King’s Cross station. If you’ve never experienced this joy, it generally involves the following:
a) Angry businessmen tutting loudly in their business suits and sighing at the disgraceful behaviour of the ticket officers/guards/trains/suitcases littering their business paths and getting in the way of their business plans.
b) Unaware tourists looking a little bit perplexed, and standing in a really inconvenient place underneath the Arrival/Departure screens with their mountains of luggage, and occasionally straying into the path of angry commuters.
So, you can hopefully understand, it’s a bit of a socially dangerous, mind-numbing experience. And you can also hopefully understand that mistakes may be made while booking tickets, arguing with train guards, or searching for your platform (helpfully, though, the patronising announcements are repeated every 30 seconds informing you that PLATFORM ZERO IS LOCATED TO THE RIGHT OF PLATFORM ONE). People at train stations always seem to be under the impression that if they don’t run around looking anxious and stressed then they will almost certainly miss their train through sheer apathy. And this anxiety and stress brings problems.
I was swept up in the jollity of it all, and was enjoying the delights of the longer-than-usual queue for ticket purchasing. When I got to the front and had managed to dispel my anguish over extortionate ticket prices (and praised the heavens for my 16-25 railcard…), my tickets were spawned into the collection tub (well, what is it actually called?) and I went off to find my platform. PLATFORM ZERO IS LOCATED TO THE RIGHT OF PLATFORM ONE, I was informed. Great - not the one I needed, but thanks for the deets, automated King’s Cross female voice.
It wasn’t until after I’d pushed my way through a pile of children (no doubt abandoned at the station by their anxious and stressed parents who had forgotten their own offspring in the ensuing chaos) and tripped over a couple of unconscious commuters (they’d probably passed out after forgetting how to get to PLATFORM ZERO) that I actually glanced at the tickets in my hand, just to check that I had everything I needed. That’s when I noticed that I had three orange-capped rectangles. This was a bit strange, considering I’d only bought a single to Cambridge (I was being chauffeured/hauled back to London by a friend with driving capabilities). I looked at the tickets in more detail: a collection receipt, never needed but always printed; my outward ticket to Cambridge, with a big Y-P printed in the corner reminding me of how lucky and youthful I was; and then a third ticket. Here it is:
After the initial horror of mistakenly thinking I’d bought a return ticket to Sheffield had passed, I gathered my thoughts and realised that, obviously, I’d plucked someone else’s ticket for their imminent journey from the machine, as well as my own. Now, at this point, any normal person would have simply chuckled to themselves at this previous person’s misfortune and pocketed the ticket, promptly forgetting about it, and then committing it to a rubbish bin a few weeks later after finding it screwed up in their wallet/handbag with old receipts and their Tesco clubcard. However, I was suddenly overcome with a wave of guilt and worry. A woman’s name was printed across the bottom of the ticket - I’ve erased it on the image, but let’s call her ‘LK’. She had obviously pre-booked her journey to Sheffield. Probably at quite late notice, considering the price of the ticket (£75.50!!). And this was the OUTWARD journey. LK had become parted from her ticket that would take her to Sheffield, and away from the bustling London life.
And this ticket had found its way into my hands.
I try to do nice things generally. It just makes sense, in my mind, to attempt to be as nice to people as possible because it puts everyone in a happy mood and makes you seem likeable and friendly. So when I suddenly realised in a guilty, panicked moment that I had acquired LK’s ticket, I felt an overwhelming urge to return it to her. How the hell was I going to achieve this? My first thought was to hang around next to the ticket machine, the one which I now felt an infinite bond with having spent so much time pondering over it and queuing almost in a state of penance in front of it. I returned to the place of the birth of the misplaced ticket. I waited. Who for? I wasn’t sure. What for? I don’t know. I expected to see a young woman, slightly flustered and clutching a worn suitcase, dashing back towards the machine shrieking, “HALT EVERYTHING! I’VE LEFT MY TICKET BEHIND!” and then I’d step forward gallantly and command the situation: “Never fear, Madam! Your ticket rests in my palm. Now continue your journey safe in the knowledge that you have all the documentation required!” And everything would be okay. But LK did not dash back to the ticket machine, and by this point, the time was drawing ever nearer to my own train’s departure. I watched as the clock digitally ticked its way closer to 19:15, and I looked around in disappointment at the lack of ticketless women flocking towards me.
It got to the stage where I really had to leave before I experienced the drama of my own train leaving without me, so regrettably I inched away from my spot next to the machine, and with a sad glance at the crowds around me, I made my way to platform five and boarded my own train. I was still in a state of Epic Worry at this point regarding LK’s journey. Would she make it? Or would the ticket guard cast her asunder after she wept and pleaded with him to accept that she had bought a ticket? Maybe he/she would take pity on LK and accept her collection receipt and seat booking regardless. Or maybe LK would be left on the platform of King’s Cross, clutching her purse as a single tear trickled down her trainless, abandoned face.
And so I must issue my apology. I know it wasn’t my fault, but:
To LK; wherever you are and whoever you are: I feel utterly responsible for your (still as yet unconfirmed) trauma. Please forgive me for mistakenly ending up with your ticket, and potentially forbidding you to travel on your chosen route. I really hope that you didn’t end up standing on a cold platform, waiting for another train, or forking out another £75 to pay for the privilege of what would probably be a delayed (or, at least, interrupted) journey to the glorious North. I hope that you made all the connections that you needed to, and were not left stranded because you couldn’t find your way to Platform Zero (it’s located to the right of Platform One, by the way… for future reference). I ask you not only to forgive me and accept my heartfelt apology, but also to remember, in the future, to collect all of your tickets (they generally have a note on the screen reminding you to check). Yours apologetically, Ben. x