I am a firm believer that to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to unforgivable. If you need to be somewhere then you ought to get there early because anything else is just rude. It was very much to my horror therefore that earlier this week I was nearly an hour late for a training course I was due to attend in London.
Now I would like to blame everybody else but it was my fault which only serves to make the whole episode that much more frustrating.
I was visiting an office I had never been to before and as I usually would gave it a quick google, checked which tube station to head to from Waterloo and set off with enough time to get me there with a good half an hour to spare to allow me to have a bit of a wander about.
As a seasoned visitor to the capital I like to think I am pretty good at getting about but alas I was so very, very wrong. Boarding at waterloo I had a 50 minute journey with a change and this alone should have set the alarm bells ringing. I knew roughly where it was yet I ignored that quiet whisper that told me that I ought to double check.
I don’t usually ignore this voice, not since that time I decided to install a kitchen and I measured how much I needed to trim off the work top in centimetres yet cut it off in inches. There’s no hiding that from the wife when she gets home I tell you, but alas I did ignore it.
Now if you have not experienced rush hour on the London tube then trust me it is as bad as you might imagine. I was crammed so close to other people that in some cultures I am pretty certain that I am now engaged to at least two women and one bloke and there was a point where I had to explain to a fellow that I really couldn’t move up any more as if I did my groin would be closer to the face of a rather diminutive Sicilian looking old lady than I would be comfortable with.
Not that I am otherwise comfortable shoving my groin into the face of old women of any description regardless of where they come from, I am definitely not.
Anyway after half an hour and about 10 stops the whisper had become a scream and my desire to be on time and to not end up on the sex offenders list caused me to panic and I alighted at Earl’s court. Unable to get a phone signal I hurried to the surface still smelling of the bloke who had been pressed against me since Knightsbridge to figure out where the bloody hell I was. It was at this point I hit an all time low for me on the tubes.
If they are crammed I will usually just let everyone go before me and wait for the next one. That is all part of why I leave extra early and it normally means I stay relatively calm and unflustered which I think is why I enjoy London so much.
Anyway so my plan is to drop a text to the trainer and explain I am late but will get there. It’s only a course right, hardly that important. Now at this point I dropped my bank card as I took my phone out of my pocket and bent over to pick it up. As I do this my bag swings from my shoulder and clips a fellow rushing past me and as I stand up he glares at me with a dark and ominous scowl. Well, this seems to trigger me and for some reason I become possessed by the devil and decide to inform him that…
“Look at me like that again mate and I’ll punch you in the throat.”
I am a little more tense than I realise and for a moment we stare at each other. I am hoping he is thinking “Shit I better get out of here he looks a bit handy” whilst I am thinking “Oh fuck I have no idea how to fight and the last thing I smashed was a carbonara pizza and I haven’t had a fight since 1990 (and ended up sat bleeding from the nose sat in a waste paper bin on that occasion) and I should apologise probably because that is just rather inappropriate and I am not Jean-Claude-fucking-Van-Damme.”
Fortunately he was obviously also late for something and scurried off as I leaned back against the wall in relief at not having to explain that I was late for a training course on emotional resilience because I was arrested for fighting an Albanian looking backpacker in Earl’s court tube station and rubbing my crotch in an Octogenarian lemon sellers face.
After that it was plain sailing really. I worked out where I was actually meant to be going, got there an hour late, did the course, learned a few things and convinced the trainer to let us finish the session in the pub instead of the classroom and had a couple of pints of Guinness and a Cornish pasty and a sausage roll.