Yackety Yack

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?


4 responses to “Yackety Yack

  1. I don’t consider this to be a doom and gloom blog in the least. It’s an entertaining and humorous one, which I always enjoy reading.

  2. Hello… you are cracking me up. (babymother you know who you are…) I will never hear an recorded message the same again. When my sister and I were waiting for the train to come back from Luton, the train going the other way (which only two lonely souls were waiting for) had a glitch in its recording and kept repeating the announcement over and over and over again. The announcement?
    The 1:37 a.m. service to Gluxtonshire has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience. The next service, arriving on platform 3, will be the 2:37 service to Gluxtonshire.” It repeated every two minutes. At 12:45 in the morning.

  3. I have a friend who believes that artificial intelligence will one day reach a level where it will be in every electronic device. When this happens, he assures me, our phones will be bored stiff when we talk into them.
    So what I’m saying here is one day we shall have out revenge.

  4. But how soon before they turn on us? The first really intelligent mobile phone will probably electrocute its owner out of exasperation. And the train announcement systems will require years of therapy to overcome the guilt at all the suffering they are forced to inflict …

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