Missed Trains

The bus ambles up to the stop and the doors open. A queue of people enters one by one as they do here in these parts. Some pay cash while most have their passes speeding this line along. Being able bodied I climb up the stairs to the upper deck knowing that there will be a seat available somewhere. I’ll leave the lower deck for those less able or willing to make this treck. 

Upstairs there are seats and I find one three or four rows back from the front. The front seats are taken by some youths who make themselves bigger than they are spread out with their feet up by the window. They are talking loud about something cussing intermittently. At one point one of them turns around as he spoke of a confrontation he had with another. I wasn’t paying attention. My mind was somewhere else using a messaging app to chat with my boo back home. It’s morning over there and I regularly send her a “good morning” message when I leave work. It’s that magic time before she begins her work and I finish mine. 

As usual the bus was stuck in the traffic jam that is the parking lot exit. This is the most frustrating part of the journey. Sometimes it takes fifteen minutes or more to travel a distance of just a few hundred meters. There was a guy trying to get the bus driver to let him on. Bus drivers are not allowed to open their doors to let people in outside the designated bus stops. This guy didn’t look respectable with his greasy long hair, leather jacket and dirty trousers. He kept trying walking up to the door after every time the bus moved a little. He realized the futility of this and began to motion and curse the driver with his bus pass in hand. Dejected he walked away from the bus towards the bus stop. 

I peered at the time between messages and the article I started to read about the Y2K aesthetic that hasn’t died down and is now in some kind of a cultural revival. Precious minutes spent waiting for the light to turn green. It’s a winding road road to the station the traffic a bit heavier than normal it might be due to the rain. At various points along this route we hit the red lights and encounter heavier volumes of traffic. Our progress slows to a crawl. 

At one point it’s eight minutes to go as we stop at the final stop before the motorway. 

“It’s gonna be close.” I think to myself as I calculate the odds of us getting there in time for the 1707. The bus is a bit fuller now. It seems that we have stopped at every single one of the bus stops along the route. This doesn’t happen often but that’s what those stops are there for. Public transport always has its intreague. The variety of people that get on and the stuff they carry sometimes. I give my odds at fifty-fifty. It’s gonna be close. 

We head over the motorway towards the underpass and slowly move along the left lane towards our turn at the round about. Luckily we are not in the right lane. That one usually snakes slowly as all the cars meander around the round about. You must also remember that in the UK they drive on the other side of the road. Three minutes to go one last stop. We just miss the lights. At this point I’m waiting on the lower deck. I want to be ready to sprint to the station entrance. As we turn into the road there is congestion. One of these car hire cars is stopped and parked partially on the sidewalk. The bus that left ten minutes before this one along the same route is just ahead of us. It’s stuck as well. 

The road here is narrow to encourage slow driving. There is a parking lot across from the exit of the station connected by a cross walk controlled by lights and wayward padestrians.  This car hire car finally proceeds prompted by honks from the bus drivers. 

“It’s gonna be close.” I said it out loud to myself. A guy at the bottom of the stairs that got on the bus at the same time as me gives me a smile.

 “You need to catch the train?” He says. 

“Yeah” as I peer out the window as we are stopped at these cross walk lights. I can see the train in the station. It’s just a short walk from the stop. The driver won’t open these doors. We pull away and as soon as the door opens at the stop I sprint first one out of the gates. The train is not there. I check the time 1707. “Fuck!” I mutter to myself standing under the arch out of the rain to get some air and inform Ba(r)be of my inconvenience. She asks for a “boo! Selfie” so I obliged trying to supress my laughter at such a silly request. The next train is in 21 minutes at this point. 

Inside the station the benches are filled with people waiting for trains to get somewhere. Probably London. The pendolino stops here. It’s only about an hour twenty to get to London on that one. The only downside is the frequency at which it stops here. The stations funnels the wind into a draft today. Must be the direction from which it is blowing. South east. 

A woman sits directly across from me at the table. I got on the second coach containing the first class vestibule on this line. Every operator has its own style of trains each with their up and downsides.  I still have some coffee in my trusty thermos. This was a busy day in my usually quiet control room. They are preparing for an inspection on Monday. There was a whole lot of dotting the i’s and crossing their t’s. People were coming and going filling out paperwork for things they have done already but that needes documentary evidence. Busy day scanning as well. 

I begin to type sipping on my coffee kind of enjoying the moment. At the table next to us one of the guys is passed out and the other seems engrossed in his reading. At the next stop the guy that was passed out leaves. H had a micro five minute nap must be tired. As we pull away I hear a murmur. Is the other guy reading to himself out loud? I try to ignore it and continue typing taking a quick glance at the woman to see if she acknowledges the strangeness of the murmuring voice. She is engrossed in her phone. 

“What is he reading?” I think to myself. A quick glance at the shape, size, and style of paper as well as the ocasionally audibly understandable word leads me to the conclusion that he is reading a bible. He’s got a shaved head and looks to be about 30 years old. He’s dressed smartly with tapered trousers bright socks and stylish although worn shoes. He seems totally engrossed in his activity and I only casually catch these details as I don’t want to apparent to be staring at him. Soon it’s time to get off. He continues to read and the woman stares at her phone.

The walk to the flat views along a new path that I’ve started to frequent recently. It takes me along a path following the River Sow. It’s green and relatively easy to follow. The construction that’s taking place along the river causes a small detour but even this is better as a few months ago this wasn’t an option. Gives me a chance to enjoy the herbs. 

Today there were groups of people in front of me huddled under umbrellas taking the same path. There were a surprisingly large number of Asian students (I assume) walking together. None made any eye contact. They congested the pathway with their umbrellas and slow pace of walking. 

“Another day has passed.” I thought to myself as I reached the flat. One day closer and the weekend is almost here. 

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