It’s been a while since I blogged about my train pain. I’m not sure if I’ve became more tolerant or if I've simply resigned myself to the fact I’ll be surrounded by annoying bastards 5 days a week in a packed metal sausage. My commute is a lot different, it’s about half the time but I have to deal with double the amount of bastards. Monday to Friday I shoehorn myself into the Overground at my local station, I’m screamed at by a station guard to make sure I stand behind the yellow line. I’m not exaggerating when I say “screamed” Seriously, the last time I was shouted at like that I was 17 and spewing up and dribbling my knickers in my mums car after drinking too much Smirnoff Ice. I feel like getting up in his grill and saying “Why don’t YOU stand behind the yellow line?”
But there were simpler times. Times when I could get a seat on the train in the morning, when I could expand my lungs freely without an elbow or Longchamp handbag crushing my ribs or a Metro being shoved up my nostril. Yes, there were annoying people, you've all heard of Fruit Pastille Guy and Meatloaf to name a few. I looked back at them with fondness now. Yesterday whilst on the Overground, being practically impregnated by a man standing a little too closely, I counted him sniffing 118 times over the course of a three stop journey. Of course I was very British and tutted. A little louder each time, then came the blatant staring out, then the dropping of shoulders and arching of eyebrows “seriously dude?” I was far too polite to say anything of course. That would be rude of me.
My train pain has come back to haunt me though, my train pain from my simpler times has bitten me on my ample arse and taken a chunk of my soul and dignity (not that there was much left) Several years ago whilst having the pleasure of riding the London Midland train from home to work, I made the mistake of being sick. Not sick on the train, although I’m sure the germs would have gone unnoticed. Sick from work. Sick with flu, delirious and miserable.
Having spent a few days off work, I decided I was only moderately sick and therefore able to return to work. Hopping on my usual 8.24 without a thought, I managed to find a seat and parked myself for a 20 minute journey to the office. I drifted off and very quickly arrived at the station where I inserted my rather archaic paper ticket into the machine and proceeded to walk into a firmly closed barrier. My ticket was spat back out at me with disgust. I of course tried again and screwed up my face (explains the wrinkles) I looked around to catch the attention of an inspector to help battle technology and vacate the station. A rather jolly looking man came to my aid and quickly explained that my ticket had expired the day before. Realisation dawned and it hit me that I’d forgotten to renew it, what with dying of fucking flu and all that.
I explained to the man that I’d renew it straight away. I fumbled around for a bank card to pay and to my horror realised I’d forgotten it. My horror lead to sheer panic when I realised I’d be unable to afford my daily Pret/Marks & Spencer visit and I simply couldn’t do without my cheese sub & crisp combo. Yes, crisps on the sub. Orgasmic. Anyway, I explained that I’d renew my ticket starting from today, tomorrow morning instead. In return for my willingness to pay, I was rewarded with a penalty notice from the ever so helpful London Midland chap. Now you all know how I feel about LM. I simply cannot muster enough expletives. All I can do is hiss like an angry panther, making sure to expel as much spit as possible. Fun fact, you can spell the word DILDO from London Midland. I grabbed the ticket from his hand and in a calm but terrifying Scottish accent told him “see you, you can shove yer penalty up yer arse” and Malcolm Tucker promptly left the building.
I of course wrote off and followed the appeal procedure and quickly forgot about it, moving home several weeks later and never hearing anything back. That was until this morning when I was awoken at 6.30am by a delightful man dressed in black holding a letter from the court citing me as a criminal for “riding the railways illegally” I laughed it off and proceeded to shut the door on him. I had just woken up, my mouth was as dry and as crusty as a nun’s chuff and I barely had any clothes on. I think Right Said Fred may have escaped my dressing gown.
Upon trying to close the door, this delightful young man slammed the door back into me, smashing it into my knee and knocking me back, and of course sending my dressing gown flying open. Right Said Fred’s cousin also made an appearance (having just had a haircut) A scuffle ensued and there was some screams (from me) as I panicked at exactly who this man was. He then showed me some ID and said he was here to collect my fine for being a railway criminal. I always knew I’d be destined to be compared to Bonnie & Clyde, but I imagined it would be for something more glamorous like tax evasion in the
or running from the Italian Mafia for being a snitch. Maldives
My fine was a snip at £662, an absolute steal for the privilege of being able to travel with London Midland. Of course I coughed up straight away as I always had great customer service on their trains; it was the least I could do for being sick that fateful day. That is of course a complete fabrication and I argued and huffed and puffed my way through it, my knee throbbing in pain the whole time from where he had knocked me back. It seemed to be perfectly acceptable to have sent correspondence to an old address, sentence me and deem me guilty without being able to appropriate a defence or proper appeal. The police were called as I refused to believe this was legitimate, I refused to believe London Midland thought that even their rolling stock was worth the £662 they were now demanding from me through this moron with his foot in my front door.
Eventually the Boys in Blue arrived and took charge of the situation; they looked at him with disdain which made me warm to them. I offered them all cups of tea and a seat on my sofa which seemed to be destined for the back of a transit van. The moron was told he was getting “fuck all” He started to list goods in my property that he could remove to refund LM, which happened to include a photograph of a model that I’d shot years ago on a beach. He picked it up and I sneered, “yeah, you like that one do you? She’s 14 there you sicko…” Photographs were taken off the wall, the TV was unplugged and mementos and knick knacks seemed doomed. I even worried for my cats and tried to usher them out the door mentally screaming “RUN! Save yourselves! I’m no good for you!” The last straw was when he tried to take my beautiful bike. Beautiful Bobbin who has been my saviour and my salvation so many times over the last 6 months. I decided to get a bike to ease my Train Pain when it all got too much. Hurrah, I lived close enough to be able to cycle to work. The only arseholes causing me pain would be my own as I trundled the 7 miles to the office. At least I’d get a seat every day and there was only a very slight chance I’d die on the way there.
After much tears, much use of the C word I had no choice but to pay the fine in full. The alternative was being arrested. I admit, I toyed with it for a few moments. Hey this could be fun. I’d just shaved, I was feeling silky smooth and I had no pants on. You get guaranteed sex in prison right?
When he finally left in his van, which by the way he had used to block the whole street to the amusement of my neighbours I called the court and called them a shower of cunts. Yes, I actually called the woman at the court a cunt. It’s probably on tape and I’m expecting a fine for being abusive to a government employee but it was worth whatever they fine me.
London Midland, you are a bunch of cunts. Your enforcement agency sent a bully to my home who physically injured me. As long as I live I shall never travel on another London Midland train again (unless I’m horribly drunk and in that case I hope I shit, piss and spew everywhere) Thanks to you I’ll have to forgo my daily Pret fix, thanks to you I probably wont be able to afford a bottle of wine this weekend, or a Summer holiday or more wax for Right Said Fred’s little cousin. Thanks to you, this weekend I’ll be sober with a pale hairy fanny.
Pleasure to travel with you, come again.