The Long Commute – A Weegie’s Tale
If Frodo Baggins thought he had an arduous journey he clearly hasn’t taken the Scotrail Glasgow to Edinburgh commute on a daily basis!
BING, BING!!! The dreaded 6am alarm bellows out, I somehow manage to peel my almost corpse-like figure from the mattress to turn off the thunderous alarm.
The first coffee of the day gives me that much-needed pick me up required at this ungodly hour – one-by-one the neurones start to fire, not yet in synchrony but getting there. Now, time to embark on my epic journey of subway, train, bus and I have to say a wave of enthusiasm sweeps over me – I love my job – but quickly fades as I think of the journey that awaits me, (I must be insane).
As the subway nears the station the legs start to twitch as the ensuing herd begin to ready themselves for one of nature’s true marvels that would best be explained by Sir David Attenborough, the barbaric ‘get a seat at any cost’ dash. The treacherous sprint up stairs, through barriers and along the devilish escalator has claimed many a novice commuter in its time – the infant wildebeest on the Serengeti have a cushy number in comparison.
If you are lucky enough to navigate this assault course unscathed now comes the quest for a seat – like the Serengeti it is survival of the fittest (or the pushiest in many cases). Those few unfortunate souls who are unable to fight the crowds are now standing like zombies as they ready themselves for a sardine-inducing experience.
Now that I have located my seat (I can be pretty pushy - in a polite sort of way) I am confronted by three types of travelling companion. The “I watched far too much Big Bang Theory last night and am now going to have a drooly sleep on your shoulder” guy. The “I’m going to down four cups of coffee and twitch my way through the whole trip” guy – and finally the worst of them all, the “I’m writing my train blog w*nker!”
It is hard to contain a slight chuckle as you roll up to the first station with the knowledge that there are no more seats remaining for the unwitting passengers who must join the rest of the walking dead. Croy, Falkirk High, Linlithgow and Haymarket well quite a few chuckles actually!
Now time for the final leg, albeit the most efficient, it can by far be the most unpleasant. Edinburgh isn’t Glasgow but its’ buses are great – frequent, on time with plenty of vacant seats. So why does the Orc sit beside me? Empty seats in front, behind and upstairs but this enormous creature sits beside me exuding garlic-smelling sweat from every pore. Frodo had his problems with Orcs but never one who had clearly dined on a chicken Vindaloo and a gallon of Guinness. Seemed a nice-enough bloke/Orc though.
I don’t have Frodo’s burden of the One Ring just my laptop to weigh me down but I cannot do this anymore! Yeah, there are certainly times when I think to myself, why? Why would anyone put themself through this soul-destroying, mind-numbing, financially-ruining hell purely for the sake of a job? And then I have a moment of absolute clarity, as if a voice from an Almighty presence whispered in my ear, saying….. MOVE TO EDINBURGH!!!