We spend a lot of time standing on train station platforms, not because the trains run late but because we don’t have a timetable yet and can’t remember the minutes past the hour when they are scheduled to leave. So we get there when we do and sometimes find we’ve just missed one and need to wait around for ten or fifteen minutes.
I feel certain the station master is sensitive to the boredom this may cause for some of us who have not grown accustomed to headphones or kindles.
After a few minutes of silence in which restless, pacing footsteps are all that can be heard above the din of coo-ing pigeons in the eaves, on come announcements reminding us to
“Please stand behind the yellow line,” which incidentally has moved back a foot or two so now there is less room to hang out in.
“The train approaching platform 2 does not stop here.”
“The train approaching platform 3 is the non stop service to Victoria, please stand away from the edge,” a reminder for some of us who have unwittingly migrated forward into the forbidden yellow line zone.
Or this classic,
“If you should see an unattended bag or notice any suspicious behaviour please contact a member of staff or a police officer.”
In my bored state I generally look around for one of these august members of public service. The station master is up in his box pushing announcement buttons for the amusement of the waiting passengers and the law enforcement officer is up on the High Street pounding his beat oblivious to the fact that his services, in times of suspicion, are being recommended below.
I grin inwardly as I scan the platform for signs of suspicious behaviour or unattended bags.
Excitement did occur on the underground for hubs this week however. There was an unattended bag keeping the passengers, on the district line tube from Embankment to Victoria, uneasy company.
Several of the pluckier passengers asked around,
“Is that your bag?”
There were no takers. They sat looking at each other and the backpack until hubs spoke out loud what everyone was thinking,
“Suppose it’s a bomb?” They gave it some distance. Hubs imagined the effect if it were to go off, blinded perhaps or blown off legs. He really did think that!
Poor little left behind bag.
At Victoria two or three of the passengers alighted. Evidently their survival so far gave courage to the remaining passengers who stayed put. Hubs found a station employee alongside the inflicted carriage, she was managing the flow of passengers getting off and on the train through a microphone and reminding them to,
“Mind the gap.”
He reported the unattended bag to her.
She waved her flat baton to the train conductor, the doors closed and the train rumbled off unattended cargo in tow.
Why are we treated to these safety announcements again? To relieve boredom?