Monday, 22 November 2010

Sick joke...

This morning I was already in a negative mindset insofar that it was raining, my bus was late and when it did arrive it was packed requiring me to stand precariously holding my bag and soggy umbrella whilst trying (and failing spectacularly) to maintain some level of balance in a dignified fashion!  This late arrival unsettled my routine (I get great comfort from habitual organisation) and so I was far from pleased to be greeted upon my arrival at the train platform with the sight of one of the NHS Crew vomiting on the station platform.

Whilst it is unfortunate that he was feeling unwell (though admirable that he soldiered on and was heading to work) I found the whole episode entirely unacceptable!  To set the scene, he was sat on a bench, in close proximity to the station toilets, sipping a hot beverage and perusing a copy of the day’s free newspaper – when seemingly out of nowhere, he projects what I can only assume was his breakfast (given its undigested state) mixed with presumably the contents of his hot beverage across the station platform.  Without batting an eyelid, he nonchalantly took another swig from his drink and continued to read the paper leaving a mixed state of anger, concern and pity for those around.

Call me old fashioned but at least some level of embarrassment on his part was called for!  If not for being an adult allowing themselves to vomit in a very public place (presumably able to judge whether they feel unwell or not and able to seek the refuge of the lavatory readily on hand), then certainly for getting said vomit on the shoes, bags, coats and trouser legs of those around.  His total lack of acknowledgement for what had just occurred was simply astonishing!  Another of the NHS Crew saw fit to bundle him off to the toilet (presumably to at least ensure he had finished and rinse his mouth thoroughly before boarding the train) and had the good grace to look sheepish on behalf of his friend.

The ensuing commotion from those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the splatters ensured that I was unable to get my usual prime platform position when the train arrived, resulting in a rear facing squashed journey in to the office this morning.

Needless to say, not the best start to my week and I hope it isn’t a sign of things to come…

Friday, 19 November 2010

Attack of the clones…

Not of the Star Wars variety, but in this instance of the Vidal Sassoon hairdressers (or ‘Stylist’, ‘Technician’ or some such!).  Having boarded the train on my way to work, pleased with the fact that the train was running on time, I sat down at a table only to be trapped moments later by a hoard of Vidal Sassoon workers struggling with numerous Vidal Sassoon bags and vanity cases. 

Whilst they settled in for the journey (tipping drinks over the table as their bags toppled, searching for lost tickets (only having to buy more as they couldn’t subsequently locate two), storing their vanity cases in the luggage storage area and setting out their magazines, make up bags and iPhone 4s across the whole table) I was overcome by the clone like nature of their party.  Despite the visual similarity of all young, slim, donning varied versions of trendy outfits (all black of course) and sporting hairstyles all of a similar ilk (coloured within an inch of its life and coiffured into seemingly gravity defying styles), their actions, squeals and mannerisms were worryingly identical.  Is the Sassoon Academy Education akin to some form of Stepford (Wives) institution?!

It transpired that they were off to undertake some show in Hull (who would have thought Hullensians were at all astute in the ways of follicular fashion?) and were busy going over their proposals for the 3 models sitting away in the neighbouring carriage.  Terms such as Tecktonik hair styling and kinetic cutting techniques (for the benefit of those as confused as me: tecktonik and kinetic) were bandied about and it made me somewhat aware of quite how old and stuck in my ways I am becoming!  Claims were made at how developed and scientific hair cuts and styling are and how really, the whole practice is increasingly academic. 

I like to think that my barnet is somewhat vaguely de rigueur but I am at a loss as to why hairdressing is aiming towards becoming a science in its own right.  Granted it is a skill and I accept it requires an aesthetic eye but scientific?  Of course, I didn’t want to burst their bubble, particularly given how excitable they were.  After all, certainly a change from the normal passenger on the early commute…

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Ready and waiting...

As touched upon briefly in my earlier post The Poet and the Noisy Eater... a regular issue I have with my homeward journey is the wait on the station platform.  My embarking station is the beginning/end of the line so when the inbound service terminates the train remains idle on the platform for a period of at least 20 minutes.  This not only serves to exacerbate my frustrations with the fact that the service is hourly, but also results in a mad scramble when the doors are finally opened to the impatient hoards.     

The powers that be have decided that it is beneficial to all involved that passengers be made to remain on the platform (invariably in the cold) rather than boarding at their convenience apparently under the ruse that they are cleaning and preparing the train (such preparations invisible to the naked eye!).  What aggravates the matter further is that invariably the driver is merrily sitting in their compartment sipping coffee and reading a newspaper totally blasé to the plight of the ever increasing masses outside his window.  The one saving grace is that fortunately the platforms are covered so passengers are at least protected from the rain.  However, the simple open nature of a station platform and the absence of heating ensures that temperatures are usually towards freezing and the prospect of a regular wait in the coming colder months is hardly top of my wish list.

Given the train’s engine is usually running and the presence of the ever watchful eye of the CCTV cameras in the carriages, it does seem odd that passengers are not permitted to board.  Perhaps it is all part of some clever ruse to make the customer more grateful of the train’s limited comfort and therein their journey, irrespective of whether it is running on time.  However, I tend to think disgruntled train staff enjoy a sadistic kick watching bemoaning passengers shivering outside on the platform whilst they enjoy 20 minutes peace and quiet tucked away in their warm cabin!

A slight element of comedy arose recently whereby a rather disgruntled gentleman approached me to ask why the doors were locked and passengers were not boarding.  I advised him that this is all quite usual and the doors were not usually opened until a few minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.  This failed to appease him and despite the fact that I am relatively confident that my usual business attire isn’t akin to a train driver/conductor/platform assistant, he was certain that I was wholly responsible for the delay and felt it necessary to vent his frustration at me for a further 15 minutes!

Perhaps I should time my arrival later to limit the time spent waiting – but then I wouldn’t be secure in the knowledge that I was towards the front of the queue ready to scramble upon the train like a scavenging vulture the minute the door light comes on…