Tag Archives: commuting

Short Story Vending Machine

My thanks to the young lady who drew my attention to this article during our chat earlier today,

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/02/short-story-vending-machines-london-commuters-canary-wharf-anthony-horowitz

Platform

A couple on the platform kiss.
“This
Place isn’t real” he says.
Oh happy days
For lovers. And I
Do not hear what she answers in reply.

Commute

The sun shone this evening as I strolled from my office in Whitehall to Embankment tube.
The roads seemed empty apart from the presence of police vehicles, who’s sirens joined with the noise of the helicopter to disturb the tranquillity of the evening.
No one appeared to be manning the “Evening Standard” stall outside Embankment station, which seemed odd given the events of the day.
“Watch out for card clash”, the automated announcement said as we commuters filed along, in a more or less orderly fashion.
I passed part of my journey home, from Victoria to Gipsy Hill, in conversation with a lady. We spoke about my guide dog, Trigger.
Just another daily commute then, when I reached the pub, the horror of the day replayed again on television.

My place of work is in Whitehall, some little distance from Parliament where the terrorist atrocity occurred this afternoon. I am unharmed and (fortunately) none of my colleagues or friends where affected by today’s incident. However the shock remains with me.

Life

Walking through the tube on my way home.
Alone
In this crowd.
Would
That I could
Be a cloud
Up above.
Yet we are all clouds
Blown hither and thither by crowds,
Trying to keep our identity in the throng
Whose song
Is “Work then home
Alone.
Perhaps a few drinks with the boys or girls
(the social whirl)
Or collapse in front of mindless television
(watching overpaid hosts
On reality TV interviewing ghosts
Who inspire derision, Not fear).
Sometimes we see it clear
But rather than confront the truth (which is difficult to do),
Instead flick through
Channels where you can shop till you drop
For the latest crop
Of gadgets (not needed before,
But once you saw
You just had to buy)
For one must be a “with it” guy.

Going to bed
Your head
Is clear for a while.
There can be no denial
That you may think
(unless your mind be muddled with drink)
Ere sleep “wraps up the ravelled sleeve of care”,
But beware
For you may dream
And all that does seem
Will be revealed for what it is, a soon forgotten soap opera in which you play
A barely noticed role then fade away.

Not His Destination

This morning I took a train from Thornton Heath station to London Victoria. Due to me being visually impaired, a member of station staff assisted me to board the train. However, before he could disembark, off went the locomotive with the railway company employee on board, and none to happy at having been conveyed, without his consent from Thornton Heath to the next station stop, Norbury!

A man
With a plan
To help me board a train.
Oh what a pain
For the doors closed
And there arose
From his lips a bad word,
The kind heard
On the docks.
The commuters where shocked
And the man from the station
Reached a destination
Not wished for.
No wonder he swore!

People caught reading on London Underground to be fined £5 as from 1 April

Yesterday evening I met a friend who works for Transport for London. After a few pints he confided in me that London Underground will be introducing fines for those found to be reading books on the tube. According to my friend who, for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous, there have been many accidents caused by commuters so absorbed in their reading matter they have failed to notice the person closest to them and poked them in the eye with a book, newspaper or magazine. There is also, he says an issue with people missing their stop due to being engrossed in a good (or bad) book (good and bad are, after all subjective terms).
Consequently as from today (April 1st)anyone caught reading on the tube will be subject to an on the spot fine of £5 (if paid by cash rather than card this will be reduced to £4.50). My friend believes that this will enhance the customer experience of those traveling on London Underground. Rather than taking refuge in a book or paper commuters may, actually talk to their fellow passengers! The idea does, he says have the added advantage of creating employment as a significant number of “Book Banners” will be required to enforce the policy.
What do you, my readers think of the idea? Will it work? Is it a good one? How would you feel where you to be subjected to a fine of £5 for reading on the tube?

Kevin