… that my usual train, the 7:41, left bang on time – indeed a little early – this morning. The bad news is I wasn’t on it – I was still at the foot of the stairs, trying to sprint for the platform behind a phalanx of not-my-train stair blockers. I got there in time to see the departing train disappearing into the distance as the clock ticked round to 7:41 and the smug little poster reminded me that to ensure punctuality, doors would be closed up to 30 seconds before departure. Even though we all know that means the train will end up sitting for 4 minutes at Barnes to allow the timetable to catch up with what is by now a ridiculously early train.
I was late because I’d been stuck in the quick ticket machine queue behind someone who’d decided to be firm with it when it wouldn’t take her card and kept persisting with the same one until it saw the error of its ways. And I was late because I had a head full of cold and hadn’t felt like risking the Vauxhall Cross sprint against the lights and had had to wait until all the planets were sufficiently aligned for the green man to appear and the cars to stop. And I was late because it was a grey cold morning and I’d had to persuade myself not to call in sick when I woke up with a throat like sandpaper and streaming eyes.
Sometimes you should just go with your worst instincts. Because having missed the train, I found I had brought down the full majesty of Sod’s Law on my head. The next train was cancelled due to a missing crew member and the train after that was packed and late due to – according to the announcement at Putney – ‘passenger flows at the station’ which translates (for those you who don’t speak Train) as ‘people inexplicably attempting to cram themselves onto a crowded train just because the one before it was cancelled, the inconsiderate bastards’. Meanwhile I had a whole carriage crammed with people to share my viruses with, for which I can only apologise. If you wake up tomorrow with a scratchy throat and streaming eyes, take my advice. Just call in sick.