thursday, november eighteen 2010
my first journey home from brighton to stafford was awful. what should have been a simple trip turned into a miniature nightmare.
i arrive in plenty of time at the train station, where I purchase a latte. i’m pleased that they don’t charge me extra money for the soya milk, as many places do. my arm hurts from lugging my heavy case up a steep hill. i’m happy to sit down.
it was a satisfying coffee. i find my platform.
on the train a man has two phones that he juggles between. he talks to his friends about which girls they’re going to ‘get with.’ i manage to find a table seat and i pop on my headphones and listen to tunes. i also begin to draw a little after a quick chat with my father. i inform him that i will be seeing him around half ten.
i arrive at clapham junction a minute late and i miss my connection to watford but I still attempted to run for it unsuccessfully. i stress and then i find someone to ask what to do. i worry and it stresses me out that despite the fact I am in england, nobody that works at the station appears to speak fluent english. this stresses me out more and i call my mother. i notice a trapped pigeon and people rush past me. my case is heavy, too.
the man at the information desk tries to tell me that it’s all my fault that the train was late. i can’t understand this or him and get mad as hell. i receive a phonecall informing me that i am going to miss my train to stafford. i now have two choices…travel to birmingham or back to brighton. i choose birmingham and arrange to be collected there.
i am in floods of tears and hop onto the train to watford after a little more confusion and alternative information from the station staff – which is pretty much irrelevant at this point. a man on the train is dressed strangely and wears thermals underneath some ugly shorts. he is australian and talks about sports teams and how orange continue to text him about the new harry potter film. i go for a wee and i use the soap dispencer but then no water comes out of the automatic tap and i am left with sticky soap hands.
i arrive at Watford and a nice man carries my case up some stairs and explains when the next train to birmingham should be. i make more phone calls and feel slightly hungry.
outside a man that appears to be drunk rolls a cigarette with golden virginia tobacco. he has a creased face and wears a black suit. he looks at me when i go outside and i ask him whether he is also waiting for the train to birmigham. he says no but his train does pass there. so I wait and he asks me if I am okay. i say no and explain why a little. he says that i should stick by him and it will be fine. he asks where i am travelling. i say staffordshire. he says he once lived there and liked the pub called the grapes. i recognise this place and I tell him i recollect the pub and he continues to tell me how he got very drunk there once and how the people in stafford are, ‘real people.’ then he told me he would have lived there forever if he hadn’t met his ex-wife. i think this was too much information and when his train arrived i was glad that it ended up not being mine.
i said to a lady who was also waiting that I thought the man was drunk and she laughed and said yes and that she had taken this route many a time and there are not always problems but if they do occur it’s best to just get onto any train you can. i agree and she says she’s come from brighton and i say that i have too and that it is my first visit home. when she finds out i am a student she asks what i am studying and i say illustration. she asks if it was at grand parade, to which i say yes and she says that she studied 3d design there some years ago.
i find it a little odd that within the space of five minutes I have met two people that relate both to my past and my present. my destination and my current location.
i get on the train debating whether i should buy something alcoholic to drink or something to eat. i buy nothing, read the lion, the witch and the wardrobe and draw. i change my seat as my phone runs out of battery. i sit at a table that is located next to a power socket and draw a man that sits in front of me. he’s reading sci-fi and it looks boring. he keeps smiling and i wonder what is happening in his book. it looks fictional and it is by somebody called jeff carlson but i don’t know who that is.
i wonder what the man’s name is. i now want a bulmers cider but i know it would make me far too giddy as I am hungry and tired. the man also has a bum chin and he holds his hand to his mouth when he yawns. when he stops reading i find out that he also has a bulky laptop. i wonder if he knows i am analysing him like this and i wonder if he is secretly analysing me.
when his stop comes he picks up a fish and chips box. it says, ‘harry ramsdoms – world famous fish and chips,’ but i have certainly never heard of them before.
please remember to take all of your personal belongings with you.