I am trying to get to London from Northamptonshire. This involves wearing grown up clothes, driving to the station and getting on a train. All things that have been done in the past with differing levels of success (especially the wearing of the grown up clothes). I am going to an event I really want to go to for reasons that extend to nothing more than it would be really good for me to go. Lunch with people that will lift my spirits. I need a bit of lifting. Not my face, silly. My soul. It’s been a tough few months. Ok, very tough.
What to wear? My grown up clothes section consists of: Court dresses (formal, invariably black, not too low cut, not too short, not too interesting, can’t be distracting the CPS or the defendant), Speech Day dresses (summery, can involve pretty pattern, not too floaty as the day is invariably windy and exposing buttocks pressed into 7 Denier to your children and their friends is apparently not the done thing, who knew?) and theatre (this mostly takes place in the dark so can be marginally juvenile, although I am still hopeful of sitting next to Mr Right one day, so try and make some effort as I have so far failed to secure him next to the Brussel sprouts in Waitrose).
Given that the triathlon training has, over the last 8 months, been replaced with the Ultra Croissant Consumption Programme (please consult your doctor before trying any new lack of exercise regime or a drastic change in your eating habits) some of the grown up clothes appear to have been taking in by the Croissants Gremlins. I was getting quite stressed about rolls of pastry induced fat making their way through cloth to say hello to the outside world without permission and VPL adding whole new dimensions to skirts that went way beyond what the designer had ever envisaged. Too late to go shopping. No need to go shopping for one lunch a year. Then I remembered who I was having lunch with. A group of possibly the least judgmental women – my nutrition group headed by Anna Marsh, who is one of this world’s amazing people, and that’s just a fact.
So I got over myself, chose something I was comfortable in, painted my nails, booked my train ticket and ….lost my keys. I just had them. The keys. To the car and the house. The house keys and the car keys. Both essential to leave the house with and drive to the station. And to be able to get back from the station and back into the house. And as I am thinking all this the time is ticking and I only have so many minutes before the train leaves and I have to park the car and print off my ticket from the machine and walk over the bridge and try not to fall down the stairs and I have only just had them and where are they now and why does this happen to me today when all I want to do is go to London and I really need to find them because I don’t like being late and I have already paid for one ticket and I really have no idea where they could be because I did not move them anywhere and maybe they have been stolen when I had the door open for the dogs and
“I HATE THE UNIVERSE!!!!”
Yes I said it out loud. Shouted it in fact. Like a child. I did not stamp my foot as I was wearing grown up clothes. I just want to go to London and have lunch. I don’t want to win the lottery, I don’t want to marry Brad Pitt (really I don’t. Simon Reeve, yes, Brad Pitt, no), I don’t want World Peace today, I just want to go to London.
“I DON’T NEED THIS STRESS” was next. Closely followed by
“I HATE YOU!” to no one in particular.
Then I found my keys. Where I left them. I did not say sorry. That was unwise.
I got in the car (breathe in for 4, breathe out for 4) and half way to the station, whoever I told that I hated, just nudged the universe a little bit to the left and made the massive wind turbine rotor blade transporter thingy get stuck 4 roundabouts from the station. I did not want to save the planet today either. Yesterday, yes. Tomorrow, fine. Today, to hell with global warming and I am with you all the way Mr Trump, it’s all a myth and whose job was it to plan this route and they should all be shot. It was so hopeless, that I actually calmed down. I could not go forward and I could not go back, there would be another train.
Only, I got to the station with 5 minutes to spare. I swooped to the ticket machine in front of a poor unsuspecting lady who was reaching into her handbag in what seemed like slow motion to retrieve her purse, by the time she looked up I was out of the door like a pro, tickets in hand, doing the high heel shuffle to the stairs, up the stairs (I must not fall, I must not fall, I must not fall) shouting to a man (sans high heels, not fair) who was running in front of me to ask them to wait, hearing the train pull into the station, abandoning the shuffle for the full knee high sprint across the bridge, braking at the stairs, hearing the train doors shut, “WAAAIIIIT!!”, gingerly sprinting (that’s a thing) down the stairs (I must not fall, I must not fall, I must not fall), to get to the train, pushing the door button – as it moves off. Said man sans heels was nowhere to be seen. Selfish bastard.
I cried. I went back to the ticket office. “I just missed my train. Sniff. Because of the stupid windturbine thing getting stuck on the roundabout. Sniff. Can I still use the return part of my ticket? Sniff. And how much will a single to London be please? Sniff”. “You can use your ticket on any train today.” Awkward.
The train was full, no seats. Hey, just throw it at me, there is nothing I can’t take today. Opted for a taxi, queue 30 deep. Whatever, I have high heel shuffled already today. I got to lunch 5 minutes late. The Ladies That Lift hugged me tight, smoothed out my creased soul for an afternoon and lifted my spirits. I made my return train with 2 minutes to spare, but I knew as I walked up the escalator with hurting knees that the train would still be there.
I got over the universe. The universe got over me too. I think we’re friends again. Tomorrow I will ask once more for World Peace and will make an extra effort with my recycling and look at getting a Prius.