gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

A Gradult against the clock

As I write this I have a child peering into my eyes. He’s climbing on his seat and looking straight at me. Oh, he’s now touching my laptop. His greasy hands are on the top of my laptop. You carry on with your phone call love; don’t worry about your son’s blatant disregard for my personal space. I hope his ticket isn’t valid and he gets chucked off at the next stop. A night in Market Harborough should teach him a bit about boundaries.

I like to see myself as a fairly accommodating guy but the last forty minutes have pushed me over the edge. And it didn’t have to be this way.

I had a ticket booked for the 12.15 from St Pancras to Nottingham. In my mind it was going to be a leisurely stroll down to the station, perhaps pick up some food on the way, maybe even a paper and enjoy the slow retreat back home.

If this was the plan then why was I still loitering at my sister’s house at 11.35? Why did I have to turn it into a race against the clock? The clock is an efficient competitor; the clock doesn’t have to slow down for a Chinese couple getting a photo outside Costa coffee.

FYI the kid is now back in position peering at me; now armed with some cheese and onion crisps. Is he eating them without making a mess? No he is not.

So I get the bus. The first bus trip anywhere is always a little anxious. Is this my stop? Am I getting off at St Pancras or is it Kings Cross? Apparently they are the same thing?! I fly off the bus, eyes darting for clues like Jason Bourne in a cafe. Incessant rain pounding down on me. That wouldn’t be happening if I wasn’t racing the clock. Those two minutes I spent on my hair this morning were a washout. Literally. What I would do for those two minutes now. I spent four precious minutes reading about Colin Firths Oscar preparations. I’ve not even seen the King's Speech. Foolish. The clock cares little for hindsight.

So onwards I march, feet squelching, bags eating into my shoulder, indiscriminately swinging into women, men and children. 14 minutes on the clock and I storm up to the self service machine. For some reason the reservation code doesn’t include any numbers. Is this motley jumble of letters on my phone really going to produce a ticket? I frantically type them in and miraculously my journey details appear.

Buoyed by the successful transaction I march up the escalator and board the train. With 12 minutes remaining. That’s right; all that panic was for nothing. I could have strolled from the bus, picked up a sandwich and then taken my seat. Now, with twelve minutes until departure I don’t have enough time to justify leaving the train in search of food. Not at St Pancras. So I sat there, damp, hassled and hungry.

It’s been a couple of hours since the train journey now and the initial anger has subsided. The child continued to stare at me for long stretches of the journey. A woman in the seats opposite me felt comfortable enough to clip her and her four child’s nails between Leicester and Nottingham? And by the time we arrived at our destination I discovered a dog had been sitting under the table a couple of rows up for the whole journey. The sort of dog you only ever see on the 6 o’clock news for mauling someone. A Stafford pitbull maybe? Rottweiler? The type that has a chain mail lead and an owner who doesn’t think an 11A.M Stella is excessive.

Let’s hope the return journey is less arduous.

No comments:

Post a Comment