December 21st, 2007

crabby old man kitteh

can we has christmas?

After work this evening Bogna went over to finish up some details of her cousin's estate with her co-executor, and since I didn't have to be home to cook dinner I decided to finish off some bits and pieces of Christmas shopping.
I did some quite close to the office, then I went up to Chancery Lane station to get the Central Line into the West End to get some last bits and bobs. And as I was standing there on the platform I watched the Central Line turn up its toes and die, right in front of me. The first train to come in was too packed to get on, as was the second. The third came in and just didn't go out again. I stood there and watched people coming off the escalators and cramming themselves onto the carriages. Finally someone made an announcement over the public address which went like this: "...hiss crackle...train will...hiss Bond Street mumble...journey..."
Screw it. I left Chancery Lane and I walked to the West End, did some shopping, was conquered by the lure of the Virgin Megastore on Tottenham Court Road, wandered around a bit, bought a copy of Wish You Were Here, walked back to Holborn to get the Piccadilly Line home.
I hate London at Christmas. It's too crowded and in the runup to the holidays the pavements are packed with office parties going drunkenly from restaurant to pub and it just does my head in.
But one amusing sight that never changes, whatever the season, is when you stand at a pedestrian crossing with a bunch of other people with the little red man lit up. The little red man says `do not cross,' but if the traffic somehow comes to a stop because it's turning into traffic lights or more traffic you can bet that a healthy sixty or seventy percent of the people standing beside you will suddenly decide to play a game called `Let's See How Many Of Us Can Cross The Road Before The Traffic Starts Moving Again And People Start To Die.' I used to think it was quite amusing, a long time ago, but these days I'm starting to see it as survival of the fittest.
Anyway, I get to Holborn and the Piccadilly Line is really really crammed, so I wind up getting the Piccadilly Line in the opposite direction to Green Park, where I change for a wonderfully empty Victoria Line northbound to Finsbury Park, where I change for the northbound Piccadilly Line I would have caught at Holborn in the first place. Not so crammed, because it's been emptied out by people getting off at earlier stations. So I get on the next train, and I'm doing okay timewise, really.
Except that the train crawls, it stops between stations, it crawls some more. It takes the thick end of forty-five minutes to make a journey which on a good day will take less that a quarter of an hour.
Finally winding up at Arnos Grove to find the station announcer telling us there were `minor' delays on the Piccadilly Line. Minor?! I'm afraid I lost my mind a little there and instead of waiting for a bus I stomped across the road to the taxi office and got a cab home.
And I'm working on Christmas Eve. As usual.
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