Monday, 4 July 2011

The travel segment.

Hello children. Today I'd like to talk to you all about public transportation. Thrilling I know, please contain your excitement until after the class is finished, we can have a little Q&A after this talk so please refrain from asking questions until after I am finished.

I like trains. Not in a weird thermos, anorak and notepad kind of way but in a "huh, I'm on a train and I'm going somewhere different to where I was half an hour ago" kind of way. I like trains. They go fast, they get you to places, they're a pretty comfortable ride and they often go past fields and stuff giving you something to look at during the journey. I've been on the train a lot recently (by which I mean 3 trips to somewhere and back again, so 6 train rides in total) and everytime I do it I get all excited because I genuinely enjoy being on a train. Recently we've been introduced to the concept of a high speed train service in this little corner of darkest Kent and you can imagine my excitement when I finally got to go on one of them. (it was something along the lines of "oh cool... it's blue. And clean.") I was very impressed when it got me to St Pancras in London from my home town in a little over 90 minutes knocking an entire 10 minutes off of the original journey time. Oh I scoffed at the ways of the past, an hour and forty minutes to get there? I've just made it in an hour and a half! Oh you silly fools and your ancient ways of travel I thought to myself. I had tried saying it outloud but I was only rewarded with funny looks and mothers trying inconspicuously to remove their children from my general vicinity. So a whole 10 minutes knocked off the journey time eh? I thought I should investigate this further. Upon sitting on the train for the second journey I waited patiently for the whistle that signifies that the train can safely leave the platform and began my preparations. (I turned my ipod on and chose a play list) soon enough the train left the station and we began our journey north towards the bright lights of Londonium, City Of Dreams. Within a short time it became apparent to me that the train wasn't actually going all that fast. I could still see hedges and sheep passing me by. I had hoped that all I would see would be a green and white blur as sheep and hedges merged into one as the train shot by at terrifying speed but alas, this was not the case. The train was going the same speed as every other train in the country. The name "high speed train service" was a lie! However, 10 minutes off the original journey... Something had to be going on, so I set about investigating further in order to come to the conclusion of this mystery. As I arrived at St Pancras and began my fast march towards the underground for the remainder of my journey, my mind was ablaze with ideas. The train hadn't been going any faster that usual, I was sure of it. I was fairly certain that it had been in constant contact with the rail tracks themselves for the entire journey, so a team of super-strong train moving angels was out of the question... What could be the cause of this missing 10 minutes? I arrived at my destination and had a thoroughly enjoyable time, all thoughts of trains and 10 minutes completely out of my mind for the duration of my stay until it became time to return once again to my home land. Once on the train from St Pancras to home my thoughts returned. How was I gaining this extra 10 minutes? I had just about decided that it was a mystery I would never know the answer to when all of a sudden it dawned on me. All the while I was watching sheep and hedges slowly pass me by through the window of this "high speed train" I hadn't been noticing the stations! We were passing train stations and not stopping! This must be it, I thought to myself, finally, a clue! I stood up, a face full of excited smiles, beaming at the other passengers as I grabbed hold of this thought process as if my life depended on it. I sat back down again when their glares finally convinced me that this was one mystery that they really weren't all that interested in. I counted all of the stations that we passed. 5 stations. We waited at the stations that we did stop at for around 2 minutes each so if we add 2 minutes on to the journey time for 5 stations, that makes 10 minutes. I finally had it. This was the answer I had been searching for, this was the answer that had taken up so much of my time (3 hours) to figure out! But the train people were still lying! It's not a "high speed service" because it goes at the usual speed, it's only faster because it doesn't bother to stop at certain stations! It's not a high speed service, it's a neglectful service! I wept for the people waiting for this shiny blue train that would never stop for them. I wept for the children that would never feel excitement such as I had felt upon first boarding this beautiful work of craftsmanship. I wept and I wept but as a strong independent short person I wouldn't show those tears. I would brave it out. As I exited the train at the end of my journey I turned back and gave a brave smile. I had been tricked, I had been fooled and I was heartbroken to discover the truth. But oh... I could never hate you shiny clean blue train. You still get me to where I need to go, even if you do insist on doing it dishonestly. I love you shiny blue clean train, I love you so much it makes me ache inside. Please never leave me.