Some thoughts on Travelling.
It’s 8:21am on a Wednesday morning, and I’m sat on what they tell me is a train. It’s nothing at all like any train I’ve been on, and reminds me more of a scratty old school bus. Yep, the two carriages of my Northern Line “train” have seen better days, but man, am I glad to be on it.
You see, today I’m travelling alone. And for anyone who knows me, that sets alarm bells ringing straight away. Academically, I’m pretty clever, but street smarts I am lacking! I talk to strangers on public transport, I can’t decipher a map and this morning I almost left without my entire case. You can understand why people get worried about me. I’m a little… Ditzy I guess. Last week, when travelling home from a meeting, Steven called and told me to get off at a different stop so he could pick me up. As soon as i put down the phone I promptly forgot where he had said, and so had to ask the lovely older couple opposite me, if they happened to hear me say any particular station names. Thankfully, they had been eavesdropping and could tell me exactly where I was supposed to be getting off. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to rely on nosy strangers. I am a master at fake phonecalls, seriously, I’ve spent so many awkward moments pretending to be on the phone around people that I often forget and get carried away and continue the conversation when I’m alone. So this is the technique I use when I’m on a bus and am not sure where I am or where I’m going (physically and metaphorically). I fake a panicked call (sometimes I throw in tears to keep it fresh) and make it obvious I’m lost and have no idea where to go. Often a friendly but nosy stranger will interrupt and give me the information I need.
Being rather small, and very clumsy, I seem to have an air of ‘Damsel in Distress’ about me, which makes people want to help me with my stupidly large cases. I’m very stubborn and like to do them myself (mostly) but the thought is nice, and I always try to do the same when I don’t have cases of my own. This has led to people thinking I’m robbing them, and me missing my train.
As I grew up I began liking being on transport alone and in some pretty rubbish parts of my life, bus rides were a nice escape, so I’d use my week-rider to ride the bus for a while and read. If I was waiting for a bus, and it didn’t come but the one going the opposite direction did, I’d jump on that, because I’d much rather wait sitting down in the warmth, than stood on the side of the road, and anyway, they all do a circle at some point.
As lucky as I am that I can read on transport without feeling sick, I can also fall asleep anywhere, at anytime, with no notice. Which of course has led to me, many times, falling asleep on trains and buses and not waking up until way past my stop. Or, on one wonderful occasion, waking up on the shoulder of a very smart business man, and having to pretend to still be asleep but move my head the other side, rather than face the fact that we shared a creepy, intimate moment. And the fact that I had dribbled on his suit.
I think it’s clear, from all of the above, that I shouldn’t be allowed to travel alone, and yet with my new job, I think it’s going to be happening a lot more often. Oh dear…
image source: Richard Taylor, Flickr