Jun 4, 2008


Skulking behind a pillar, in the main hall of Central Station, is not something I normally do - but this was a matter of: ‘Do it now or pay surcharge on train tickets for the rest of your miserable life’. So I had no choice.

The object of my scrutiny mocked me from just a little way off and how I loathed it. That latest in train station technology and bane of my life - the large, ugly, blue and yellow, ticket vending machine! They are always in demand. So if you are not as quick thinking as you used to be, you can forget about learning how to use them. At least not without causing a riot in the queue. I have tried a few times but always chickened out at the hissing and booing stage, which in my case is just after I have located my specs and put them on. Hence the skulking - to try and see how other folk work the bl*ody things!

Unfortunately two nearby security guards were pretending not to watch me, so I faked a look at the wristwatch I’d forgotten to put on and wandered off to buy my ticket at a ticket hatch. The few hatches still open these days are used mainly by tourists - and doddering old wretches like me. Not only that, but the hatch people charge an extra 50cents a ticket (!) although their disapproving sniffs are free.

It might have gone on like that forever, had I not needed to travel out of the city one day via a small, local train station I had not used before. It was a revelation! Two ticket vending machines outside the station door and nobody else in sight... With thudding heart I donned my specs – and took my first long look at the enemy.

Ugh! Has anybody realized how nasty those screens are? This one was a filthy mess of smudged fingerprints and spit and probably teeming with E. coli or worse. The other machine was only slightly better, so I found a stick on the ground to touch it with. Despite visions of the plague and many false starts, I took my time and grew more and more cocky, till at last with a triumphant flourish the deed was done!

The only jarring note was that after all the adrenalin and perspiration, no ticket inspector came aboard the train (either way) to clip my self-made ticket…. But hey, what the heck - there's another technology notch on my broomstick and I can finally spurn those blue and yellow abominations for what they really are – mindless crud!


Anonymous said...

Good on ye!

Geri Atric said...

Thanks Grannymar! One 'monster' less to worry about.