The train home was late this evening – actually properly late (well, ten minutes, enough to be annoying) none of this four seconds rubbish. And it was made more irritating by the fact that the onboard train announcement system had apparently been set to verbose mode because after a while it started reminding us at regular intervals that the train was running ‘approximately’ ten minutes late – when it wasn’t also telling us to keep all our belongings with us, to mind the low platform at the next station and (my favourite self-defeating announcement of all time) telling us that some of the carriages on the train had been designated ‘quiet coaches’ and reminding us not to use our mobile phones in them. Or indeed, make repeated electronic announcements over the tannoy in them.
Now telling us what station is coming up is a good idea and I don’t mind that, in fact it’s essential now that the evenings are getting darker and it’s hard to read the station signs. Even telling us after every stop where the train is going is helpful for those passengers who might have got on the wrong train, although it would generally be _more_ helpful if it didn’t wait until the doors have closed and the train is pulling out of the station. And I suppose I shouldn’t complain about the security announcements although these repeated recorded warnings just get filtered out by their hearers, especially by the sorts of absent minded people who leave bags on trains or tube station platforms (babymother, you know who you are). But sometimes it is just like being trapped on the train with an electronic bore who just can’t shut up. Mind the gap. Don’t use your phone. Planned engineering works. Is the computer lonely? Is it trying to make friends with us? Or is it that somebody somewhere has a nice shiny new recorded announcement facility and wants to make use of it regardless of whether the information might be helpful?
Anyway, lest you think it’s all doom and gloom here on Disgruntled Commuter* I bring you glad tidings of an epidemic of miracles. No sooner have I blogged about a single abandoned crutch outside Marble Arch, when a correspondent alerted me to this. Different crutches, in different cities … a coincidence? I think not**
*It is, but I like to give a false impression sometimes
** well all right, it probably is but creepy, no?