Thursday, 9 October 2014

9 1/2 hours

Do you remember that film called 9 1/2 weeks? It as an 80s 'erotic' film starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger banging a lot. It is a really terrible film but did have a lot of sex in it. This is similarly terrible but, sadly, has no sex in it at all.  

From Ryde to York took 9.5 fucking HOURS.

How? How is our system so fundamentally fucking broken that this can happen? And how did this joy and privilege cost me around £130?

FUCKING HOW?

Is it because I was late? No it is not. Is it because I messed up the times? No it is not. Is it because I didn't have the presence of mind to pre book? No. It is not. 

It is, however, because of a series of unfortunate events precipitated by a bunch of absolute fuckwits. 

We have to work on the basis that everyone is doing their best day to day, don't we? We shouldn't assume that people go out of their way to be incapable of doing their simple jobs? And yet. And yet. Today a member of South West Trains staff at Portsmouth thought he'd take a little guess at some crucial information I needed. I couldn't check it myself because Vodafone do not allow me actual Internet (or mobile service most of the time, even though I pay diligently every month. My phone is just a very expensive thing on which I can listen to audio books and scroll through my fascinating picture collection of sushi, fatty and various bats) and I couldn't use my eyes to look at the boards because they were 'down'.

Trains were being cancelled left, right and centre. Within five minutes the same train was cancelled and reinstated three times (each time on a different platform leaving hoards of people scurrying to and fro across the station). My train was cancelled. I'm pre booked onto a connection. What do I do? I ask Steve the customer service dweeb. I know he's customer service because he's wearing a luminous yellow tabard that says 'customer service' on it. And I know he's a dweeb because he says he will 'go and check' and then spends the next 20 minutes busily avoiding me. 

I ask another customer service dude. He confidently tells me to get on X train where I can pick up a connection no problem. They're every hour. Sure? I say. Yep, totally sure. He says. 

Yeah. He was wrong. 

And I get sent to Banbury. Which is sort of like being sent to Coventry but even shitter. Which is saying something. And then the next train doesn't turn up and I've been travelling for hours and I feel sick and tired. 

I'm reading Meditations by Marcus Aureus at the moment. He would have been all stoic, calm and generous minded. I want to kill everyone armed only with a blunt spoon. of course MA didn't have to travel on South West Trains. It would have turned all his learnings on their head. 

So now I'm somewhere near Birmingham, a mere seven hours since I left the house. And I only have three hours to go. 

If this is the state of our transport system in 2014, just imagine how amazing it's going to be in ten years time. I. Can't. Wait. It will be staffed by stuffed toys in the vague shape of human beings and will feature a magical mystery tour once an hour for those who can afford to sell their organs to pay for it.

Progress. 

Feel my wrath South West Trains, you sorry shower of shite. 

Postscript: Although I did eventually arrive in York and am happily ensconced with friends now, thus making the journey well worth it, my equanimity has been shaken by the fact that my pre booked tickets for my journey back are nonsensical, incorrect and leave me stranded in Reading for three hours. However, I intend to go all Marcus Aurelius on its ass when the time comes. 

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