Friday, 31 August 2007

Travel Makes Brothers in Arms


Has your flight ever been delayed by a ridiculous number of hours? Has your train ever been announced as running 30 mins late mid-evening, after a hard day's work? Have you ever waited 1 hr 30 mins and had time to read the magazines in the doctor's waiting room from cover to cover?

Well I've been through all these phenomena, and I imagine you can sympathise too. Yesterday I fell foul of a train delay. Underground, with no air and in baking heat, the homebound train was announced as off for me and the rest of the mass on the platform (standing room only). Finally it arrived, followed by a good old fashioned kerfuffle with the electronic notice board, meaning we all had to jump off if we didn't want to go on a magical mystery tour (the Beatles had time on their hands!).

So praise be, our chariot arrived and it was second time lucky, we're all on our way home, neatly packed together like sardines in a tin. As the journey drew to a close, a toddler splattered me and all the other passengers in the compartment with yoghurt, just to ensure our shirts remained sticking to us.

What's so special about all this? Well, it's the feeling of complete strangers becoming long lost friends when we're all thrown into, ironically, the same boat. Some make light of the situation, some complain and some look out for the well being of the rest; and the longer we're all together waiting for the object of our inconveniences to deliver, the harder it becomes to see them walk out of my life.

It's like in the movies: they all start out with clean clothes, go through hell and back together, then part their separate ways looking dishevelled and Bruce Willis-like in the wake of another Die Hard epic.

So you never can tell. Next time you find yourself in a Planes, Trains and Automobiles moment because the public transport sector is gunning for a World Record in Incompetency, don't sigh in exasperation, blow your fringe up and ask, "So this is what I'm paying for, is it?" Instead, smile and take a look around: a potential soulmate or friend to the end may be watching how you handle the oars.

Bon voyage!

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