Saturday, 9 February 2013

Where is St Christopher when you need him?

I was brought up being told that St Christopher was the patron saint of travellers. Infact when I was a child, everyone I knew had a necklace with a little medallion with him on it. I was a Catholic, but I am quite sure that you didn’t need to be in the ‘club’ for him to work his magic.

So where is he? I strongly suspect that he has been excommunicated due to his abysmal track record, especially where the 7.08 train from Beckenham Junction to Victoria is concerned.

Putting aside, for this blog anyway, my frustration with Southern and South Eastern Rail services, (I have the dubious pleasure of using both these companies for my commute into work), I want to rant about the Commuter.

Is it just me or perhaps my specific daily commute that makes me confront, on a daily basis, a mixture of people who, frankly, should either be on medication or seeking professional advice, but really should not be amongst us unaccompanied? I am also quite sure that many of these people hold down responsible jobs, captains of industry and the like. So what happens to them as they wait on the platform, because that’s where it starts. The jockeying for position as the train approaches, not allowing anyone off, just incase they lose their square foot of platform. The over enthusiastic use of shoulders to barge their way onto the train. Then there are the people on the train - no please don’t move to let us on, even though there is room. They stand there defending their spot, as if somebody’s life was at stake.

And if you are lucky enough to spot a seat, why do you have to stand there whilst (sorry ladies) handbags are slowly moved onto laps, and then comes the tut and ‘that’ look...for goodness sake you don’t pay for a seat for your handbag, so move the darn thing.

Don’t get me started about overweight people taking up half of the seat that I have managed to bag. I happen to be fairly slim, but I still pay for a WHOLE seat, and having to squeeze into a space that a contortionist would have a problem with, complete with my handbag, and to have to sit there for the entire journey with everything squished in stressful, although maybe good for my core muscles.

And there are the ones who talk loudly on their mobiles. I have no desire to know the intimate details of your love life, (although occasionally I listen up in case I may be missing out on a trick or two). I also do not need to be a party to your arguments. Let’s face it at 7.08 in the morning my brain is barely functioning, and whilst I admire the fact that you can string pretty plausible arguments together, I have no desire to witness it.

On the subject of phones - if it rings ANSWER IT- the entire carriage has heard it ring 5 times, we all know it’s yours, (commuters develop their own pin point accurate radar system), so how come you do not know? And then do not add insult to injury by allowing it to continue to ring whilst you look at the screen to check out the number - just ANSWER IT!

I know it annoys some people when women apply make-up on the train, but personally I find it quite useful to see the before and after as well as pick up tips on what to use and how to apply, or not as the case may be. Sometimes this is fairly scary, especially when you get the ‘what are you looking at’ scowl. It’s free entertainment as far as I am concerned - get over yourself.

I like music, all music really, but I don’t want to listen to the tinny sound of  noise coming from your ear phones -invest in better ones, turn the volume down (you will be deaf by the time you are 30), or sit ANYWHERE but near me.

Buy tissues! I have personally handed tissues to commuters who have sniffed, sneezed and coughed their way through the journey. I don’t want it, whatever you have, keep it to yourself! Did your mother never tell you not to sniff - same rule applies on the train - you have not slipped into a parallel universe for the journey where sniffing and the like are acceptable. And why is it that no matter how hard I glare at you, you still sit there sniffing, reading the Metro or playing with your phone, oblivious to my laser stare boring into your skull?

Okay we know when it rains we need an umbrella, and on the train the umbrella is closed, ladies we have this totally under control, but men - it is an umbrella, it has a pointy end. It is not a jousting stick. Keep the pointy end down. Avoid placing it under your arm like a newspaper where the pointy end sticks out. I have seen many people almost lose eyes, stabbed in the chest and other areas, and one lady had her handbag hooked. If you can’t use it responsibly don’t use one and get wet instead, saving untold injuries to your fellow travellers.

And when the train gets into the station, us poor people who have stood the entire way are entitled to get off the train first, unless we let you off. So sit down and WAIT. Being smug that you have a seat is fine but don’t then expect us not to stamp our rights when we can, and don’t tut and sigh heavily, just don’t...

Finally, Oyster Cards/Tickets - do not wait until you get to the barrier to fish around in every pocket/handbag/briefcase that you possess looking for it. It is annoying and causes us seasoned half awake commuters to slam into the back of you as we are on robot mode, it is very early and we are conditioned, and if you are a man with an umbrella you could kill somebody...

I could go on and on. I haven’t covered people who bring bikes onto crowded trains, people eating, beggars on train, reading over my shoulder, the announcements, people with poor personal hygiene...

Perhaps I could do with some divine intervention, St Christopher’s clearly MIA, so I googled it...and came up with Ekahau a Mayan God of travellers and merchants, and so I have specifically appointed him to rule over the 7.08 Beckenham Junction to Victoria.

May the force be with you..  Everything is OK on the Happy Carriage

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