So I’m approaching the newsagent in the morning, putting away my oyster card and reaching into my pocket for my change so I can buy my newspaper with a minimum amount of time and social pleasantries. Suddenly I am undercut and overtaken by a power-dressed young woman who has an important smoothie purchase to make and doesn’t want to get stuck in the queue behind me, who is not so much power-dressed as looking as though I lost a fight with a laundry basket. With a quick swerving manoeuvre she is into the newsagent ahead of me and it is so narrow that once in, she cannot be overtaken. Fortunately she is not a ditherer over her smoothie, which is good because I, while not necessarily in as much of a hurry, do like to actually catch my train and not be forced to miss it by someone else barging in and smoothie-dithering in front of me. She makes her selection without breaking her stride and heads briskly for the till in a things-to-do, places-to-go sort of fashion. Nor is she a coffee drinker, or a suddenly unlapsed smoker, or someone who wants to purchase batteries but isn’t sure of the exact size without being shown all the relevant examples. Which is also good, because I’d hate to have to rip her head off in public that early in the morning. She waves her selection at the guy at the till who rings it up. Surprise! He wants to be paid for it. Who would have guessed that? She puts down her smoothie, opens her bag, rummages around, finds her purse, opens it, counts out the money and pays. Only the fact that the newsagent guy knows me well enough to take my money and return my change over her rummaging head allows her to get out of this alive. I squeeze past her as rudely as I can and head up the stairs in a places-to-go, trains-to-miss sort of fashion raining muttered curses upon her head. But it’s OK, as it happens. I needn’t have worried. SouthWest Trains have cancelled my train.
They’ve also cancelled the strike, though. That’s one cancellation I can live with.