Mercer's Poems
The Commute

The Commute

Why this book will probably never see the light of day on a bookstore shelf.

It was my ambition to write from a young age, but I’m no good at it, allegedly. For one thing I’m not a celebrity of the intellectual calibre of Katie ‘Jordan, that’s right, tits out for the lads’ Price or Kerry ‘more coke than a well known international soft drink brand’ Katona.

Yes, that is right, these ladies, these fine upstanding citizens; these saintly vessels of virtue and righteousness write books. Children’s books at that! Katie “fucked on tape by Dane Bowers (who?)” Price, and Kerry “face of Iceland; because much like the country she’s covered in white powder and fucking bankrupt” Katona have written opuses for a young demographic; their works gracing the shelves alongside Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. I do not wish to seem like some old stick in the mud but, for one thing, did role models not used to have to be respectable and, for two, did writers not used to be able to write?

The other reason I will never be published is that I have never, nor would never consider writing anything as horrifically marketable as ‘Harry potter’. Hugely popular books, films, lunchboxes, stationary sets, bog roll, teasmades, butt plugs, ecstasy tablets and whatever else J.K. Rowling-in-it decided she should pump like raw sewage into the “I’m upper middle class, and my child is a genius because she read Harry Potter” market; when I was these kids age I read Dracula; It was awesome, it dealt with the occult, it dealt with love, it dealt with evil and it did it all without a middle-England chintz, bespectacled wankers thrusting their wands in a phallic fashion in every bad guys face, and this idea of a ‘grown up’ version so that twats did not feel like twats reading it on the train.

N.B. Regarding the previous passage; I do however respect the opinion that Harry Potter is good; but it does not mean I am evil for disagreeing with it, indeed one of the greatest things about being an objective human being is making up your own fucking mind about something, rather than bleating desperately like a sheep and buying into it because all your friends did. That’s how the Nazi party got so popular; and if I remember correctly they also wore stupid costumes, with small round spectacles and had interests in the occult; cannot be pure coincidence! I also respect the fact that the books have reconnected young people with literature; sadly far too many grown ups also connected with it, and a bit too much; kids dressed as wizards queuing up with mum and dad for a midnight release of the ‘next book’ is tolerable. Mum and Dad, dressed up as wizards, dragging the kids along to the midnight release is, theoretically, a form of abuse.

Another reason why I’m not a writer is because I have the dignity to keep any childhood problems and difficulties I went through to myself. Endless shelves of molestation and abuse titles litter bookshops; all cryptically named but, quite obvious by the sepia print of a slightly unhappy infant on the cover; “Daddy’s Angel”, “Little Treasure” and other beautifully named titles that, in my opinion can only be enjoyed by two demographics, sadistic parents, and paedophiles. Why can they not just say what the book is about in the title? Why not just call it “Touched inappropriately once by an uncle and thought I’d cash in” or “This never really happened to me; and you should wonder how I’ve got such a sick mind to think of it in the first place, rather than pay me money to write it.”

At the rate of books in this country how long will it be before a nobody reality show slapper releases a book about an arse raped six year old wizard…If their agent gets hold of this paragraph, about three seconds.

 

Let’s carry on

That said, I am writing this anyway. The State of a Nation; my tome of misery, my own version of “is it just me or is everything just shit” except with enough hyperbole to literally implode the universe. My little author bit on the back sleeve will just be a cracked and bloody camera lens; with the blurb about the author just reading “He told me to fuck off”. I am not anti-social, so much as anti-being social. Everything these days is social, social network this, social that. So much socialising but, if you notice very little in the way of a society.

I suspect; although I cannot prove, that this is because every notable event that occurs in a day is subsequently met with the reaction of the observer/s running home to type it in as their facebook status. “OMG! I was just going out to see some friends, and as I was coming towards the restaurant I saw a man eat a Pret a Manger out of the bin! LOL!”

to which you will see the reply

“Susan has commented on your status: OMG! I saw that too! In fact, weren’t we supposed to be meeting up! Oh no we totally forgot it was so random! LOL!”

What the hell is with all this “random” stuff; everything seems to be random these days. Fish Stew on a restaurant menu is not random. A man whistling the old coco pops jingle (I’d rather have a bowl of coco pops; rather than this coco pops and milk make a bowl full of fun…how do they make a bowl full of fun? they make a bowl full of soggy flavourless coco pops and chocolately milk, that is not fun, that’s breakfast; I’m not saying breakfast and fun are mutually exclusive but there’s a big difference between a meal and a game of fucking footy with your mates isn’t there!?) is not random. A dog with a neckerchief is not random. I’ll tell you what was random; the event that led to the first signs of life; the first few amino acids that polymerised by some naturally induced magic to form proteins, the first methods of energy production that eventually culminated into a cell that evolved, over approximately 4.5 billion fucking years to be some vainglorious emo-whore with a haircut more expensive than my entire outfit, that still manages to make her look like a homeless, calling a busker singing Phil Collins “random”…that was a random event and one that, at times, I regret.

Some of the misery in this book may offend some people; and to those people I simply apologise. I’m sorry you find me offensive. Of course you could try OPENING YOUR FUCKING EYES, and realising the world is a terribly shitty place and, one man desperately clinging on to his last hope of sanity by bitching about the trivial is a lot less important than the fact that we’re probably all going to burn in a giant fireball when we literally suck the planet dry of resources and start burning each other for fuel. Grow up, shut up, cheer up and fuck off.

Right; shall we begin? Are you sitting comfortably?

The Train

 

The train is a great place to think; a purgatorial haven. You are not where you started, nor have you arrived at your destination, you are somewhere in the middle. To some, that is just fine, to others, it is an exercise in restraint in the face of unending boredom.

To some people it is an exceptional excuse to shout “Hello” multiple times after passing through a tunnel, despite the fact that it is obvious to the rest of the train that the call has ceased due to lack of signal, uttering confused “are you there?”s as the rest of the train laughs inside.

 

Kids on trains

Children, I find are incredibly annoying on trains. These excitable young beings have not yet experienced the hassle of waiting two hours for a connecting train. Or being delayed by forty minutes because of some naturally and predictably occurring seasonal detritus. If they had, they probably would not be so overjoyed to be aboard a choo-choo. But they always are. It is not so much their youthful vigour and natural curiosity that I find irritating, so much as their parents handling of the situation. You will generally find that most of the time you are not sitting near restrained, patient and engaging parents; they may have a good excuse, public transport does not bring out the best in people; but that said if you cannot look after children 24/7 for eighteen years you should not really fucking have them should you.
Anyway, you always either get sat with the slappy-swearers. These are the parents who decide that the best way to deal with the discomfort of their child, and their lack of stimulus on the train, by slapping them and telling them to, literally in some cases, “Shut the fuck up, because not everyone wants to hear you shouting on the train…” Wow, sagely advice. Try fucking following it sometime.
If it’s not the slappy-swearers though, it is something much worse; The ignorance-is-blissers. While slappy-swearers tend to be more at the working class end of the spectrum, the ignorance-is-blissers are generally quite middle class, and have an incredible habit of literally paying no attention to their offspring. There are kids in knitted tanktops and collar shirts wandering about the aisles, going to the toilets on their own, being abducted, God knows what, and these parents will literally spend all their time too busy gasping at their Daily Mail in horror at what ‘brown people’ have been up to than bothering to pay any attention to the fruits of their unholy, and presumably uncomfortable, but sanitary (thanks to alcohol sanitizing gel) union.

While they are busy reading about how pig flu and bird flu could mutate together to make pigs might fucking fly flu, their children are prancing about as if they own the train and then whinging incessantly when some unfortunate commuter clobbers one with his briefcase.  There’s a simple solution; sit down and shut up, but the kid believes he has a divine right to wander and, even if the parents try to discipline him, his cheek suggests an attitude that can only come from a home exhibiting major violence between man and wife. And it is most probably the wife battering the man.


The difference between the two groups is that, honestly, when you hear working class kids misbehaving, it is quite funny. If it is not toilet humour then it is true sledgehammer wit, or just pure ‘your mum’ genius (if they are siblings, that is hilarious!) but middle class kids pick up pretentious attitudes from parents from a young age and you literally cannot help but want to slap them; but of course you are not allowed these days because if you do they’ll die of autism or whatever nonsense pseudo-scientific, non-evidence based theory comes along with it, if it’s not some disease then it is because the government has decided to instigate mass social disorder in a few generations time by allowing kids to act like dicks when the only consequence is a concerned talking to and a reward for listening.

The seats are uncomfortable and, after a while, itchy. There is always a slightly worse for wear gentleman with a dog sitting nearby with an open can of something that, to those of a reasonable disposition, should not be consumed, at least not without a meal, before six in the afternoon. There are always some young mums congregating in the aisles, and their disposition gives you the idea that aforementioned man and dog could be the father of their infant; although they would probably want to go on Jeremy Kyle to establish whether it was man, or indeed, dog.

Yet to those more infantile in years than me, this journey is a veritable pilgrimage; A holy journey aboard heavy machinery that baffles and amuses in equal measure. I envy any infant on a train.
I view trains, as a passenger, and non-driver, as an inevitably delayed, smelly, grotty route from A to B in as many stupidly complex steps as possible. Not forgetting to always mind the gap, take all my personal belongings with me (having not left them unattended at any time) and retain my ticket for future inspection for ticket barriers. If you don’t believe me, 24 hour CCTV was in operation for my comfort and security; so watch that.

Life’s Endless Mysteries

I suppose you are wondering why I am talking about being on a train. Well, let me tell you. It is because I am. It is because the gremlins in the signal controls have struck again and, despite the fact that we can build a ring underneath Switzerland that can smash particles together at near the speed of light with some degree of precision and accuracy, we cannot make it so a light changes colour at the correct time reliably. Strangely enough my Playstation can manage a red standby light and green on light with such accuracy that it has never shown a hint of indecision yet, something as minor as a heavy duty, life-laden commuter transport carriage can hurtle at 50mph towards another heavy duty, life-laden commuter transport carriage providing enough inertia, probably, to internally damage every passenger on board and, possibly, make some literally swallow their own faces; I suppose that does not need a reliable signal light system.

So, I am sitting; and nothing else. My iPod has long since had its beating lithium ion heart exhausted, my PSP is a former entertainment device and, my mobile has ceased to be. It has not ran out of battery, mind you, no apparently in this patch of green in the middle of nowhere they have not heard of portable satellite telecommunications, and, since I am not some thirteen year old delinquent, I have no music nor games on their to use in the result of such a depletion in signal.

So what the hell do you do on a train with nothing to do? That sentence makes no sense, and nor should it, but it is a situation that has come up. It is impossible as a living creature to do nothing; but being fair even cellular level respiration seems to be slowing to a halt such is the tediousness of this delay.

Well, it turns out, there is this thing called an imagination. Most humans possess one, and use to indulge in fancy, fantasy, delusion and pretence. Unfortunately, it will never, ever compare to the absolutely inconceivable situations thrown up by life itself which proves, on a daily basis, to be more incredible than the imaginations of the world’s finest fabricators. Master of Ceremonies when it comes to bullshit himself, Pope Saint Lord Jeffery Archer could not fabricate this nonsense…mainly because it has some element of originality, and being fair life can string together a far better narrative too; and avoid stock characters…But enough Archer slagging…for now.

You could claim, for example, that the well dressed, albeit slightly thin-haired gentleman sat in front of you is Cecil Angelo. He is an Italian American visiting the UK on business. He works at a cat food factory and is doing market research. He has a wife and three children at home; but every time he crosses the pond he visits his mistress, who is also a mermaid. I say she is a mermaid, she isn’t a real mermaid, that would be ridiculous, she dresses as one at a local aquarium in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire; a small seaside town, nowhere near the seaside, by a river in the middle of the Peak District. Odd place.

You could claim that, but unfortunately the chances are he is actually a member of parliament who enjoys amyl nitrate, man love and spending all your money on duck houses.


I know which one sounds more plausible. I also, sadly and without naivety, know which one is probably true.

 

Is the Metro Sexual?

Those free newspapers. I would say they are always good for a read but, actually I would be lying. Anything that is like a tabloid paper, but they cannot even give it away is a bad thing. Featuring such marvellous stories as “Massive breasted Vacuous Whore Splits from Six-Packed Hunk EXCLUSIVE” or “A woman on Britain’s Got Talent last night was praised as being ‘better than James Blunt’ after farting the much overplayed James Blunt weepy ‘you’re beautiful’ live on stage, in Simon Cowell’s face. Any resemblance between the anus used to fart the song, and Piers Morgan’s smug grin have been played down, but this paper has exclusive evidence that they may in fact be related!”
I can see how some people might be interested in this stuff but, really!? Could they not invest their reading attention in a classic novel or an actual news story? Apparently not judging by the amount of people stood at the train station with copies of “Celebs with Cellulite” or “Receptionists Weekly”.

What is quite bad is that, to be honest, I have a vague reputation for perusing these feasts of literature. They always have these exceptionally villainous depictions of anything with a penis. I mean literally every story about a homicidal or abusive male ever. They will go back to the 1950s to vilify something of a phallic disposition in the crotch area. If you were to base your opinions of males on this weekly trash you would think all men were possessive and restrictive, overpowering paedophilic date rapist murderers who view women as pieces of sexy meat to be violated and consumed.
As it happens, not all men are like that. I am male. When I am in a relationship I try my best to hide my jealousy of my partners social activities that exclude me; whilst maintaining a healthy, natural level of suspicion so that a) she knows I’m concerned and b) she knows I can’t live without her. Indeed, possessive behaviour, on any level, including violent, is actually the ultimate show of male insignificance towards his female. He is nothing without her.

Children, also, do not sexually arouse me. Kids are not sexy. Some of them try to dress sexy and I will be first in line to berate their parents for allowing their young girls or boys to dress as sex objects. Although this complaint will not be made to the parents directly as informing them that allowing their six year old daughter to walk around in a “Slutbag” t-shirt looks like it would probably invoke a reaction similar to that of a gorilla having just been punched inexplicably in the testicles; confusion, pain, anger, but mostly violence.
With regards to the date rape; while that is probably the easiest, if not only way I could possibly have casual sex with an attractive female, I have never even considered resorting to it. I am far too coy and no-sex-please-we’re-British in my attitude to even be remotely sexually aggressive enough to force myself on anyone.

I have never murdered anyone either; although that, like most other people, is more through luck and brute patience than anything else. Let us leave it at that.

And finally, when it comes to how I view women, I find I objectify females far less than females objectify males. There seems to be this undercurrent of thought that men go for looks while girls go for personality and I can safely say that that statement a complete and utter reciprocal of the truth. While young bucks out on the town may talk a good game, they will ultimately, in later life, settle down with someone with whom they share an inexplicable bond, while not entirely regardless of appearance, this will certainly take a backseat. Women, however, would rather settle down with someone who shares an inexplicable resemblance to Bond, James Bond; smooth, attractive, debonair, charming and a little bit of a cheating dandy shitbag.

Case in point; One time on this train, one of these magazine toting members of the opposite sex once saw me ‘adjusting’ on the train. To those not in the know, ‘adjusting’ is what a gentleman may have to do around the crotch area if, perchance, he should sit in such a fashion as to trap, twist, catch or squeeze a sensitive part of his organ. In such a case, it is unfair for a lady to cast a look as if I was furiously wanking myself off to what little I could see of her bust above the grotty train seats! It’s ok for ladies, their parts, variation aside, are usually neatly tucked away. Men have them flapping in their undergarments and, occasionally, this can lead to straying; on such occasions a gent will always try to subtly alter the course, but this is not always possible and drastic intervention must ensue. This does not make a man a gratuitous transport onanist. Nor does it make him a little bit rapey.

The Fairer Sex

If you are bored on a train, you find yourself thinking about women a lot. Much like the slightly balding gentleman earlier; once you get past the ‘I’d do her, not her, do her, do her, ewww no!’ phase, you begin to invent futures for yourself.

That pretty, but coy looking blonde lady in the belt-up coat is Veronica Alders. She comes from Sevenoaks, has a BA in English Literature and loves to recite romantic poetry in the bedroom. In the morning, freshly woken and washed, she smells of raspberries and her smile does not just melt your heart, it melts it, and resets it in a loveheart shape like some kind of soppy dessert. You work hard to make her laugh, but her giggle is well worth the effort and could make a man sigh with desire at ten paces. Your mother thinks she has a positive influence on you, and that you have been far more focussed and motivated since you got together, and your dad thinks you are a dirty dog and tells you to geddin there! When you are with your friends, they gaze at her adoringly, wishing themselves desperately into your shoes; but she is far too besotted with you to even think about it. When you are with her friends, they all tell you what a lovely couple you are, and there is hideous misuse of the onomatopoeic phrase “awww”.
You plan to stay together until you can financially justify buying a modest cottage in the countryside. Then, you will get married in a winter ceremony in Ireland, and you will ensure you delay until the fields are white with snow. You will honeymoon in your new cottage, where you will get a Jack Russell who you can take for walks hand in hand in the rain, whatever the weather; and a large ginger tomcat called Rufus. Eventually, when you are settled, you will have children; three thereof, two boys and one girl. They will go to the local Catholic school and will think their mummy is lovely and their daddy is cool. You’ll spend your days frolicking in the surrounding countryside, having adventures, walks and picnics together; and living, rather generically, happily ever after.

In reality her name is probably Becki, on weekends she is a stripper, she has three kinds of VD, your mum calls her a whore and you dad has first hand experience that this is true. This is why imagination is such an important quality. Not so much for sugar coating as, slight frosting of the harsh truth. A cornflake is harder to swallow than a frostie.

You can fall in and out of love so quickly on a train. One minute, you’ll gaze lovingly at that fair haired beauty, whose booted legs jut out into the aisle exposing a glimpse of thigh before her skirt cuts in stopping you from seeing too much; the next minute, she’ll pick her nose, or speak and you will be forced to reconsider the fact that, only moments ago, you wanted her to marry you and meet your mother.

Homo Sapiens

People are odd creatures. You only notice when you have nothing to do but watch them. For example, there is a man in a brown jumper and chords sitting three rows in front of me who scratches the left side of his head with his right arm; craning it above his head like some acrobatic ape. There is a lady on the opposite side to him applying her make up in her shiny mobile phone. Evidently the slight dark tint to this ‘mirror’ has made her neglect the fact that she’s pasting it on as if she were laying the foundations to a house. The most amusing thing about it is that she seems to have an all over fake tan that she has covered up with a pale foundation, making her look like she is ill. Her lipstick is the same colour as the foundation, so her whole face looks gaunt; as if she is about to drop dead any second.

Rail Replacement is not a real replacement


I should count my blessings I suppose; at least I’m not on a rail replacement bus; squashed onto some rickety omnibus circa 1932, with a diesel engine the size of a large power station coughing up decade old strange transport smells; Stuck next to some grotesque sweaty mess that calls itself human, but breathes through its nose with the clarity of a warthog, and so has to gulp air through its mouth maniacally like a drowning fish, making a wheezing sound like a dog whistle with restricted air-flow. The driver always looks like he wants to murder everybody for having been made to drive such a shitheap full of tosspots who do not want to be on there in the first place. The other passengers cram themselves in like tinned sardines and off we go, in a pre-war tin box that can barely move, let alone attain any kind of speed significant enough for it to be more worthwhile than walking.

That said, I did once hear a lady complain, to the staff at a train station, that the replacement bus service was inadequate as she had a bad knee; and it took less time to get a plane back from Spain than it did to get the bus.
Ultimately, one has to agree that rail replacement services are awful, but a few points. One, what the hell was she expecting; a chauffer driven Bentley waiting for her upon arrival at the train station because she had a bad knee. I’ve travelled miles with diarrhoea; I’ve sat for ages with crocked legs on stuffy public transport and never once expected special treatment for it. Point two; she’s just got back from fucking holiday! There are people worse off than her, travelling in the same conditions who haven’t been gallivanting in the sun for weeks, they’ve been travelling to and from works, universities, colleges, where they have to go on a daily basis on the same crude public transport network every bloody day; they have done the same rail replacement journey thirteen times in two weeks, and the only reason it wasn’t fourteen is because on one of those days they were all in hospital having their wrists nursed back to health after a pattern of failed suicide attempts appeared in all passengers using that service…and this snobbish moaning puff-adder has the gall to whine because she bummed her knee walking in the Spanish hills!

“The squirrel hit me!”

That said, stupidity does seem to be the home of the old and more well off. I once worked at an insurance company; a gentleman telephoned to find out why the insurance on his Mercedes was so high. It was because he had a fault claim on his policy. The definition of a fault claim is one where the costs cannot be claimed from the other side. This outraged the gentleman. He did not think he should have to pay for the mistakes of others. He would have been right had an uninsured driver ploughed into him. However, in this instance, the other party we could not claim from was a squirrel.

Oh, but it does not end there. His claim was that the squirrel had hit him; As if the squirrel had been careering down the wrong side of the road in an uninsured, souped up, Ford Fiesta, with a group of his mates, listening to drum ‘n’ bass music and had had the nerve to hit this gentleman’s Mercedes. My belief, personally, is that we could not claim costs from the other party because, not only was it a fucking squirrel, but it had probably been hit at about 80mph by a person driving erratically down a country lane in a Mercedes and was, thus more than likely, dead. Of course, in that case it is easy to claim it was the squirrels fault, as if squirrels are part of some plot by fundamentalist terrorists to destabilise the economy by driving up insurance premiums of idiots everywhere. Needless to say that career path ended with a near nervous breakdown; I have far too much common sense to deal with really stupid people like that.

Banging Tunes

Why is there always someone who feels that you have to listen to their music, no matter how much you actually don’t?
It is amazing how full circle technology seems to have come. First, people would wander around with boomboxes playing their favourite tracks, but then they invented personal cassette players, walkmans, so that people did not have to. Then we got the personal compact disc played, the discman; and these were the standard for a while, and were steadily upgraded, allowing them to play mp3 data files, letting owners put up to six or seven albums on a disc, and then we got the mp3 players, iPods and such, and then people decided to put speakers in shit. Mobile phones, iPods anything capable of playing the latest annoying pop minstrels warbling dirge had an external speaker that allows predominantly classless tits to play their ditties to a whole carriage full of train passengers. I have no issue with Lady Gaga wishing to take a ride on my disco stick, indeed that would be a welcome and sexy distraction from this delayed train boredom, but do I want to hear it on repeat for two hours? NO, I do not.

It’s not just the tunes though. A full song can still be enjoyed even if it does have the sound quality of a robot farting it. But when some twelve year old still finds Crazy Frog funny it is enough to make you want to kill.


Lyrically speaking, also, songs just do not seem to be as good these days; in fact, some songs feature some out and out ludicrous lines. Take for example Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 number one “Because of you”; a song, apparently, about an abusive relationship. This song happens to feature the line “Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk.” Now, for those not in the know, sidewalk is US vernacular for pavement. In other words, the lyric to this song essentially means, because of you I am no longer walking in the road, potentially into oncoming traffic; huh!? So, before this, apparently, abusive relationship, she was gallivanting about in the middle of the road!? Surely there has been some mistake; surely the line “Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk” should be included in some complimentary, honourary ode to the Green Cross Code man; it is, after a perfectly sensible action, to stay on a designated footpath!
I do not wish just to pick on Simon Cowell’s destroyers of good music though, after all, did Paul McCartney not write the line “In this ever changing world in which we live in.”
What the hell is that supposed to mean? Surely that sentence includes too many ins. In fact, surely “In this ever changing world” would be sufficient, as the ‘in’ implies that we are there i.e. currently present and living in that location, even so “in this ever changing world in which we live” does elaborate further, perhaps a little needlessly; but to add another in to the end is just a ludicrous abuse of the word in.
And lest we forget Thin Lizzy’s excellent “Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town…” We’ll let the police figure out quite from whence this break will occur.
We can also highlight this classic from professional Columbian wiggler, and third most famous export behind cocaine and coffee, Shakira. “My breasts are small and humble so you don’t confuse them with mountains.” Strange that I have never encountered such an issue. I have never attempted to ski down breasts. I have never hired a breast-top chalet, consumed fondue in it, drank mulled wine in it. Sir Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham Fiennes has never lost a finger from frostbite scaling the icy walls of my lady’s tits.

To put that in perspective, the people who wrote these sorts of ditties are probably making a significantly greater sum of money than you or I, for being quite frankly vague, and more than a little bit poetically confused. Still, gives me something to think about on this ever static train on which I’m stuck on.

 

I am an agitated human being to say the least. Being stuck aboard public transport does not give me frivolous time with which to while away the hours, but, rather feels like I am living the old paradox of going nowhere fast, but, somehow doing it a bit faster than everyone else. A recent advertising campaign said “Impatience is a virtue,” well, that is in its entirety untrue. Impatience is a bore; impatience is a hindrance on an otherwise relaxed human soul. Impatience causes outbreaks of tutting and uncomfortable shuffling. Impatience, inevitably, leads to the creation of stupid excuses as to what has cocked up in the first place to cause a delay to make people feel impatient. On trains it is always the same. It’s either leaves, or bodies. Strangely, the latter seems to cause fewer, and shorter delays than the former; I say strangely as, given the number of people I know who have to suffer the trains, I am surprised more of them do not throw themselves in front of them.

Impatience is not a virtue, it is a blot on an otherwise well scheduled day. It is irritating when you are the cause of it, it is capable of making one absolutely livid when someone, or something else is the cause. So leaves on the line; well they are irritating for so many reasons. For one, the fall of seasonal leaf-litter has been common place since the climate in the UK settled on its current seasonality. The leaves come in the early spring, they fall in the autumn, they go on the train tracks and, you would assume, some measures would be in place so as to prevent their becoming a hindrance. But no, instead, year on year, we get to hear the same damn excuses as to how a few slithers of decomposing vegetation has brought to a halt  a vehicle carrying many, now impatient, passengers. This subsequently messes up the whole daily timetable meaning, if this occurrence should be on your morning, outward, journey, the return will also, most likely be delayed by the same amount of time, if not longer.
Bodies are a different matter however. These are individuals who, instead of choosing to kill themselves with dignity, on their own, at home, with tablets and booze, or by masturbatory auto asphyxiation ; these are people who so want to upset your journey they are willing to die to do it; people who would lay down their life for the minor inconvenience to you and your day. This is a truly desperate and, quite frankly, annoying act. I mean, throw yourself in front of a bus; no one really catches those any more. The train is usually always busy, but the bus; nobody cares about the bus.  Unless it was a rail replacement bus, in which case that would be a hideous turn of events as already delayed passengers stuffed in archaic transport are further delayed by a dead man in the road, with a radiator grill permanently imprinted on his face.

The daily commute; that unholy transition from one place to another. There is nothing inherently wrong with the journey itself, but the manner in which it is performed is generally negative and, if I am honest, quite the discomfort. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a ticket bearing the national rail logo must be in want of his humanity. Trains are basically the equivalent of, at least what used to be, calf drives to Holland for the purpose of veal; a bunch of wide, cow-eyed individuals desperately trying to get somewhere, but never really knowing why, or when, they were actually travelling.

You can see this, definitively, if you are making a short-ish journey on a train. Those of the short journey will look, questioningly, upon the commuters, while the commuters will stare, scarily, longingly and hopefully at the short journey passengers as if to say “Please take me into your home. I cannot take such a long, arduous and inevitably delayed journey any longer!”

Of course, these looks are met with the expected cynical glare back. It is this heartless steely gaze that commuters are desperately trying to break, after all; are we not human beings too!?

 

Drinking

 

Drinking is, like delays, hold-ups, leaves on the line, being sat next to a fat bastard, the floor being sticky, hearing the same repetitive “mind the gap, for your security, luggage with you all times” messages and being bored, an inevitability of commuter travel.
Upon arrival at your intended destination, even if you have managed to resist that pause at Whistlestop for two cans of Heineken, your arrival will herald the consumption of alcohol, in at least some quantity.

In my case, this predominately involves stopping short of choking upon my own vomit. In other cases you may need to be tipsy, in some, one small glass of wine will suffice, but either way, booze is, even if somewhat questionably, the answer.


No one, in the history of mankind has come up with a better answer to commuting. When they do I shall listen intently, but until then, my stupor shall come from the liquid devil and nothing else.

At this point the writer reached his destination, slightly intoxicated, and forgot he had ever written this. He may have remembered, and indeed continued to write throughout his commutes, were he not, usually, so drunk.