The Reykjavik Express – Part 1

I shouldn’t be writing this. I should be entombed in the graceless catacoombs of the tube system, pushing and shoving to gain access to an office that seems to need me more than I need it. But I’m marooned just outside Reading after the train failed to stop at a platform.

Let’s examine that statement shall we. How the fuck can you miss a platform? The vocational sphere of a train driver is surely little more than pressing one button marked start, and another one labelled stop. So rather than abandoning the three confused looking passengers expecting to alight at Charlebury, we backed up 8 trains on the single line and added thirty minutes to a three hour journey.

Which I could have spent reading the paper if they’re were any or working, assuming my oh-so-clever 3G connection would connect to something, anything really. I wasn’t alone in the connectivity isolation as demonstrated by the Crackberry generation grumbling around me. They switched their attention deficit to calling sleepy colleagues, so noisily confirming what a bunch of self important cock ends they really are

Ah Good Morning Peter, sorry not too early is it? Thing is, I’m a little bored on a late train, so can you listen for a bit while I chunter on about pointless shit to show these other chaps what a thrusting executive I really am.”

I am an imposter here, a cipher in actions but not in thoughts. We all look the same, uncomfortable in suits and encumbered by technology stuff, but these are not my people. The reality of work is just because you’re good at it, is not a fantastic reason for carrying on doing it.

It’s taken me twenty years to work that out – which is a bit rubbish really since it’s quite a simple concept – and the obvious conclusion is that the trappings of a well paid job have absolutely nothing to do with any actual enjoyingment of carrying it out.

In the end I just gave up, plugged white noise into my ears and dribbled off into a broken sleep. The only upside was the volume of my mp3 player must surely be leaking into the general population. And so while they tapped vigorously, clipped brusque conversations and tried extremely hard to out-important each other, what they were really thinking was “I KNOW that riff, is is Tom Petty or the Beatles?

Answer, neither – but since you only had a tinny base line to work with, on the return journey I’m going to augment it with some air drumming. Musical Charades to puncture the pomposity of the business carriages. We’re going to take the train back. C’mon whose with me?

9 thoughts on “The Reykjavik Express – Part 1

  1. NBT

    With you? I’d be after you with a blunt instrument for playing one of those fucking annoying MP3 things so loud, used to *hate& that on the tube in That London

  2. Alex

    You have to put it into context. The option was to listen to the braying of mobile phone conversations at just below the pain barrier. It’s a war in there I tell you. I’m just about keeping up in the noise arms race.

  3. Ian

    I’m lucky, my job doesn’t require regular train journeys, whenever I have to though do I always end up comfort rocking in an attempt not to throttle the whole lot of them with their own ties..

  4. DanLees

    Just to make me feel smug, here is my commute:

    Walk out of front door at 8:57am
    Walk down hill.
    Cross Road.
    Walk up hill.
    Enter work at 9:00am.

    Repeat in reverse for the commute home.
    I don’t live in some horrid place either but a medium sized village in Leicestershire surrounded by fields and right next to Leicestershire’s biggest Deer related tourist attraction and nocturnal MTB playground.

  5. Huey

    So if you’re “working at home” they can check through the office window?

    I live in a far too urban place, but I do get to cycle to work every day 🙂 Still too many blind*, arrogant, numpties allowed out though – and that’s just the pedestrians 😉

    * “I look but I do not see”, not “I cannot see”

  6. Alex

    Yeah thanks for all your support there fellas 😉 I only do it once or (at worse) twice a week. And I do get to work at home a bit as well. That’s a good commute 🙂

    But I still prefer this to commuting in the dark, rain and cold in the centre of London every day. I miss that not at all.

  7. DaveB

    My 3 mile cycle to work through town each day has taught me one hard and fast rule “Anyone who drives a car between the hours of 7.45am and 8.55am* is a complete arsehole”

    Sorry, no exceptions. They’re all halfafuckingasleep, none of them have any concept of creating any windscreen visibility before leaving the drive, they must all shit their pants at breakfast and not clean it up..as they are all one-per-car, each one has a much more pressing need to move 2 metres closer to the car in front rather than allow a wet cyclist through, they’re fat/ugly/fat and ugly/too badly made up to tell AND I can guarantee that most of them just live round the bloody corner.

    Give me a train commuter any day. The only real threat to you from them is that they may possibly bore you to death.

    * note the clever use of time to allow my wife to slip through the definition as she leaves at 8.57**
    ** it’s not just you that can use them clever “*” annotations

  8. Alex

    Dave – I only do that to annoy Nick 🙂 My commute isn’t like that when I can be bothered to actually ride it. Worse case is you’ll be flattened and killed by a tractor driven by a caffeine crazed lunatic who hasn’t slept for five days. Although reading your comment did put in mind of my “London Years”

    Jose – nice but I’m thinking a lump hammer and a sign saying “go on, answer that phone I DARE YOU” may be cheaper.

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