Sunday 29 December 2013

Sometimes life just winks at you. Life is a smug bastard. Life winks at me as I buy my ticket for the Metrolink at Ashton.

Rewind a few hours to the belated Christmas lunch I am having with my family. My brother mentions something about sometimes not paying on the train or Metrolink. I wasn’t being overly judgemental, but I was making the point that people not paying, particularly on the Metrolink, doesn’t help make fares cheaper. And it is basically stealing.

I may have gone a little over the top, but I got a bit annoyed by my mum saying that they should have more ticket inspectors on. I mean I was right (natch) but I need to get better at letting things go.

Later on I went to get the train from Stalybridge to meet my friend in Manchester. I had bought tickets to Stalybridge, checked the website for the times of the train. AND been on a train to Stalybridge and got off there. All of the above suggested there was a train at 1646. So I was more than a little surprised when I was told there were no trains operating from Stalybridge today. I wasn’t even told it immediately, a woman stood around saying she didn’t have the information and people needed to queue up at the ticket window.

I left the train station to see a bus going past that would take me to the Metro station in Ashton. Not going past in the ‘and I jumped on it’ way. Going past in the ‘fucking twat’ tway. The next one would be 30 minutes later. So, I would be walking to Ashton.

Let’s jump forward to me getting to Ashton Metrolink. There is a tram there and the little scoreboard says it will be leaving in one minute. I jump aboard and for a moment count myself lucky. Which is quite an optimistic view of my luckiness at the time.

Jumping aboard has meant that I don’t have a ticket. I am sat on the tram that is supposedly just about to go. I am only there because a train was cancelled, a train for which I did buy a ticket. The tram is not going. It feels like it is ready to go; a mode of transportation definitely feels a bit different just before it is ready to go. And this tram feels like that.

The voice in my head…OK one of the voices in my head is nodding. It is nodding at the thought I am having that I should buy a ticket. For one, I should buy a ticket. For two, it would be obvious that I would get caught on a Metrolink without a ticket within an hour of berating the people I love most in the world for their lackadaisical attitude to paying for public transport.

The tram still isn’t going. I look at the ticket machine. I know if I get off it will go. So I stay a little longer. Long enough to have got a ticket and got back. This has gone too far I get up to get a ticket. Half way through getting the ticket the doors to the tram close. I turn around and try to open the door. I cannot. Fortunately people on the tram see this – such things should always be observed, I find.

The lesson learned here is: NOTHING I HAVE LEARNED NOTHING.

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