Month: January 2016

Not the best work day, yesterday

Despite being on time, the 4.44 didn’t come. It stopped at the previous station due to reports of a trespasser on the line between that station and us. A trespasser on the line can mean something as silly as someone looking for stray golf balls or kids out for a dare (as one young woman quipped to me, “You gotta love the idiots.”)Or it can be as serious as someone threatening self-harm in which case the police have to be called. Since the control room didn’t know which it was, I didn’t know either. With train delays as with many things in this life, it’s just wait and see.
I went around the station making sure everyone knew that they could make the slow journey into the city on the nearby tram if things got bad. When the announcement came that the delays might be up to 40 minutes there was a mass exodus to the tram stop.
From where you are cut off from the station by boom gates but where everyone could see the train when it came round the corner two minutes later and pulled up at the almost empty platform.
As I watched people streaming back from the tram stop, I confess I hid in the office, but I did answer the knock on the door.
Two angry ladies shouted at me. “This is outrageous,” yelled one. “What are you people playing it? You make us miss the train and now,” she waved as the tram trundled past, “You’ve made us miss the tram as well.”
It was like the bad old days when I used to do the rush hour shift. “We didn’t do it on purpose,” I said. “I’m afraid I’m only as good as the information I get,” I said. “That’s not good enough,” she said and “What’s the point of your job then?” The hardest thing about this situation is that she was in the right. “I can only apologize,” I said. Maybe I should have keep quiet about the tram.
Not the best work day.

Thai Curry Chicken balls – a word of warning.

During school holidays children get in to the Zoo for free so you can imagine how busy my station is. I’ve been flat out helping people buy tickets, giving directions and reassuring people that yes they are on the right platform to return to the city. You’d think I would get bored but I’ve spent lots of time chatting – mostly to tourists about how happy/unhappy they are to be here frying in our over 30 degree heat instead of freezing/frying elsewhere. Until today this week’s peak experience was having a selfie with Japanese honeymooners. (I warned them I was too ugly but their English wasn’t that good and they persisted.)
New Year’s Eve was much quieter mostly because it was H.O.T. !!! Around 39 to be precise. But I met this week’s favorite customer – a gentleman around 50/60 in a sombrero and a pony tail, sporting a large wooden cross. Without any preamble, he showed me the wildlife calendar he had purchased for his local vicar and I remarked that looking at the furry coat of the grizzly bear on the cover make me feel very hot. (So glad he took that as an innocent remark. But then he did not strike me as a man for innuendo.) From that topic we proceeded abruptly to Thai Curry Balls.
“I ate some once,” he said, “and I had the most terrible dream afterwards. I dreamt of a tethered goat being attacked by a wolf. I’ve never eaten them since.” (seems wise.)
I asked him if he was the goat but he changed the subject and began telling me about various cats he’d had and their various passions for sausage rolls or tinned Spaghetti Bol. I love conversations like this and a railway station is the perfect place for them because you have the comfort of knowing that a train will come and take the talker away before it all gets too much.
Wishing you all a Happy New year filled with as many Cat-loving eccentrics as you wish for. Thanks for supporting Station Stories.