You can’t get there from here.

Before I start, let me be absolutely clear this could happen to anyone. The fact that it happened to me, refreshed by a couple of beers and head firmly in home mode, is nothing more than a cruel coincidence. I’m a bit hazy on the train timetable after about 6:15pm, since my arrival at the station post this time has normally been preceded by medicinal libations squared or possibly cubed. So when this evening, the big red station clock offered an Aylesbury train leaving in exactly two minutes. I thought That’ll do me nicely”, wrestling the bike past “ and sometimes through – the human Brownian motion experiment that is the Marylebone concourse.

Woooaaah, that train of thought has been shunted into a convenient siding while this random express takes control of the editorial line. The London Marathon is upon us and the warming rays of spring sunshine has tribbled* the Paula wanabees disgorging them and their pointless technology into cycle lanes everywhere. And where did all this technology come from? In my day going for a run” involved a pair of retired , smelly and slick soled 5-a-side trainers, garish beach shorts and a once white t-shirt. This is somewhat at odds with the critical mass of the rasping and sweating, sporting watches the size of clocks, shoes designed by computer and bought by idiots and moulded drinking vessels handily sized for punching passing cyclists. And in a post modern ironic twist, Mark Knopfler white headbands. When they do finally get past their body biometric” stretching programme and pre-exercise preening mirrors, most of them actually run like the title sequence of the Six Million Dollar Man. It’s like slightly speeded up Robotic dancing, accompanied by a menagerie of electronic chirping. I’ve seen faster trees.

I apologise for the 70s and 80s references in that last paragraph. For those of your under the age of thirty, what I’m referring to is¦. no actually since you were conceived after Jimmy Hendrix died, it’s just not worth my time explaining.

Shunt. Right back on the slow train of drivel heading nowhere. The ticket inspectors are, by now, so attuned to the sight of my heavily perspiring, glove wrenching, ticket losing self, they just give me their smile saved for those of special needs and waft me through the barrier. The apparently insurmountable problem of no spare bike racks was easily solved by shoving some other poor unfortunates’ out of the way while simultaneously grappling the on bike lock. Fumbling velcro cost me a little time as did the slight worry that I was abandoning my bike to five days of possible Easter scrote molestation with only a twenty quid lock for protection.

But the getmehome gene was in the ascendance and I beat the closing doors by thirty seconds. I’m getting good at this last minute train malarkey” I congratulated myself while idly noticing the passenger information system was actually working tonight. Seer Green? Beaconsfield? High Wycombe? What the f*ck is going on” I wondered considerably less idly as the train mocked my confusion by accelerating away from the platform. About twice every ice age, Chiltern Railways run a service that can’t make it’s mind up where it’s going. It heads confidently off in a Birmingham direction before taking options on splitters rights at Princes Risborough and depositing the unwary at the Aylesbury Terminus.

Yes gentle reader. I was on one of those trains. My other bike waits patiently at Stoke Mandeville while the train doesn’t go anywhere near there. I almost had the ignominy of a ten quid taxi ride between stations so I could then ride home. Pride coming after my wallet, instead I called Carol who was forced to schlep up to the station avec small, animated and amused children. Daddy why did you get on the wrong train” they asked in that sing song voice which secretly hides the prefix you great bloomin idiot“. I think they get that from their mum. I told them the other line had been destroyed by an alien slime death ray from a UFO and I’d be instrumental in saving the entire population of the South East through unspecified but significant heroics. I’m not sure they bought it though. You can’t lie to them like that”complained Carol (this from the women that tells them babies are created through some kind of complex cold fusion) it’ll mess with their little minds”. Yeah right, leave me with a few shreds of dignity even if it means group therapy in a few years.

The problem is “ or so I’ve been telling myself “ that my mind is too highly trained for the minutiae of life. The option (or truth as it may also be known to those whose cruelty knows no bounds) will blow away those final combed over shreds of dignity I’ve been talking about.

One of these days, nothing odd, irritating or downright bloody outrageous is going to happen. But don’t worry, I’ll just make something up instead.

*Worse than seventies references, I’ve now been reduced to quoting trekkie mulleted gerbils with a shagging fetish. I used to think I was a bit strange until Google zipped me over to the parallel universe of the card carrying trekkie. Jeez they are ODD.

One thought on “You can’t get there from here.

  1. NickF

    Bloody runners, eh?

    As someone who’s doing the London Marathon next week, let me tell you that absolutely any bit of technology, fancy new bit of clothing or iPod-holder that you strap to your arm (which actually looks rather worryingly like a blood pressure monitor) is gratefully welcomed for the rather obvious reason that you’re forever trying to kid yourself that THIS is the bit that will make it all a bit less painful.

    After all, when you’re riding a bike you can vary your speed, freewheel a bit, move your position around, and actually cover ground at a decent pace. When you’re running, especially if you’re running a marathon (and even more so if, like me, you’re still running it after four hours) you don’t really have any of those options, other than to stop. And if you do that you get some old dearie shouting “come on daaaaahlin’, gotta get running agayyn, not long naaaah”. My normal response is to invite said old cockernee sparrer to join me for the run and to witness for themselves that yes, actually, it still IS a bloody long way.

    So you grab onto anything at all that might improve your lot. Helium-filled shoes? Sounds great. Ultra springy soles that give bunny-like bounciness? Yep, let’s have some of them. A ‘technical’ top as modelled by Paula? Why not, might allow me to pee in the street and not get arrested.

    Of course, as a tightwad Northerner, I’ll not be going for any of that malarkey, and will be running the Marathon in my usual attire of mountain bike top, cycling socks and Endura cycling tights……if I’m going to look stupid, I might as well look properly stupid. Might leave the helmet at home though.

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