Hello. My name is Meryl and I am losing the will to live. I am losing the will to live because I have just waited for 17 minutes for a tube at Liverpool St. 17 minutes! I counted every one of those babies, while being bombarded by announcements about the part-suspension of one line, and the 8 (count them! 8!) track closures this weekend. Is this what my fares and tax pay for?
I was so very keen to get to work on time, and it was so very obvious I wouldn’t. More and more of us crowded onto the platform. They, like me, were cycling through the usual emotions: panic, rage, despair, more rage, resignation, amusement, resentment… It has been a week of delays like this – an idiosyncratic blend of planned engineering works (after 2012, I am sure we will have the best transport network in the world, but until then, we suffer) and signalling failures, people taken ill on trains, a fire at London Bridge, someone being in a bad mood, the planets being in the wrong alignment, butterflies flapping their wings in Venezuela.
Anyway, mine was, in retrospect, a minor annoyance. The lady next to me and I clapped and laughed when the train rolled up to the platform. I was late by only 15 minutes. I am sitting at my desk, with no ill effects. I have made a fuss about nothing.
I overheard a bunch of Americans once, complaining about London. “London”, one of them said “Will drive a spike up your ass and charge you double to do so.” At the time, I was enraged at this slur on our fair city but today? Today I am inclined to agree with him.
Sorry, London. To make it up to you, here’s a link to a really beautiful shot of volunteers cleaning up the Thames on the day it had the lowest tide of the year. I love the way the cloud-triangle meets the light-on-water-ripples shape, and the counterpoint of the people and the flats on the sky-meets-waterline (yes I know, the hor-i-zon.) Did the photographer spend ages lining it up? Or was it just snatched out of the minutes he spent there?