The train before was cancelled. This one is packed. Twenty minutes into the journey, the train is stopped by a passenger. Someone has been taken ill.
We are kept informed by the driver. We'll have to wait at the station 'til an ambulance turns up.
Ten minutes later we are still waiting. A well built middle aged man talks loudly into his mobile phone.
"It's a fucking joke. We pay two grand a year to travel on these shitty trains without a modicum of comfort."
He is sitting. Many other passengers are standing.
"Supposedly someone's been taken ill. This is always fucking happening. We don't give a fuck if someone's not well. All we want to do is get home."
We're all nodding along with him, of course. I'm not going to clap yet, though. I'm saving my "hear hear!" for the end of his speech.
"Why don't they just leave him on the platform? Then we can all go home. Why do we have to wait around for the fucking ambulance? If that was me in that situation, if I was taken ill, they could just leave me on the platform and then everybody could fuck off home. I wouldn't want to inconvenience people. We're all busy people! We've all got homes to go to!"
"I'd better go now and we'll all sit here pretending that we care about someone being ill. Won't we people?"
He finishes his phone call. The woman standing next to me is complaining that she will have travelled for three and a half hours in all today. She left home this morning at 7.40 and she didn't get into work 'til 9.30. That's an hour and fifty minutes for a journey that should last no longer than an hour! And now this this evening! It's beyond a joke!
Ten minutes later the driver announces that the young man is ok and that the paramedics have taken him to hospital. He apologises for the inconvenience this delay has caused us.
I stand up. I am lucky I am in the front carriage because I want the driver to hear what I've got to say. I shout at the top of my voice.
"APOLOGIES? APOLOGIES? WE DON'T WANT YOUR BLOODY APOLOGIES! ALL WE WANT IS TO GET HOME ON TIME AND TO TRAVEL IN A MODICUM OF COMFORT! WE'RE PAYING TWO GRAND A YEAR FOR THIS! IF SOMEONE'S ILL THROW THEM OFF THE BLOODY TRAIN! THIS IS SURVIVAL OF THE BLEEDIN' FITTEST, MATE! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOCIETY! ALL WE CARE ABOUT IS OURSELVES AND OUR LOVED ONES!"
"Well said, mate," says the well built middle aged man. "Fancy a drink when we get to the station?"
"AS A MATTER OF FACT I DO!" I scream. "I FANCY A NICE PINT OF LAGER OR TWO! A NICE COOLING PINT OF LAGER! OR TWO!"
"Fucking 'ell, you're making my mouth water," he says.
"FOR TWO GRAND A YEAR YOU'D THINK THE LEAST THEY COULD DO WAS SERVE DRINKS ON THE TRAIN!" I bellow.
There is a chorus of "Hear, hear!" We pull in to my station and people shake me by the hand as I walk through the carriage to the exit doors.
2 days ago