I came rather close to having a sudden startling revelation at the weekend. But it was then disproved, which was lucky, as there's nothing I like less on a Sunday evening than having to re-evaluate my entire world view; it just takes so long, and Sunday evenings are reserved for bouts of quiet desperation that another week has swirled down the plughole of the universe without getting caught on any hairclogs of opportunity. And also roast potatoes, to make the quiet desperation taste like crunchy duck fat.
Anyway, plenty of time for all that, for trains is what my brain was a-ponderin' - specifically, how unbearably cool I believed them to be for a period of about a day, thus causing me to consider that maybe cars do not in fact rule all, before all the horror and hellishness that I assume typifies most train journeys fell gently upon me like greasy, sweat-riddled rain. The train journey up to Rochdale (Ah, Rochdale! You bestowed upon me a free train ticket courtesy of a random generous stranger, and a wedding reception in the middle of a deserted industrial estate where the buffet was pie and mushy peas. My conclusion: you rock) was exactly what those old adverts were banging on about. I was comfy, I had room, the sheep-stuffed countryside swished past at a pleasing rate, the tilting train actually tilted which was possibly the most exciting thing I have ever experienced, and there were handsome young men reading the Guardian that I could concoct narritively startling but spiritually unfulfilling romantic fantasies about. Ah, but once in Rochdale, one must leave Rochdale, no matter how much one's heart is rended by the thought, and there is where the whole train mirage exploded into thousands of shiny fragments.
My God! Was the journey back down a frigging nightmare. First there was the reservation system going poof! Which meant that when I took my seat in a more desirable location than the one which I had been allocated (ie, so I could gaze out of a window, not stare furiously at some graffitti scratched into grimy perspex for four hours) I was gripped by a paralysing, buttock-clenching paranoia whenever anyone vaguely came near me, in mortal fear that they would launch into a furious diatribe on the subject of my seat-stealage and related moral weakness, and then hurl my whimpering form out of the nearest fire exit, fuelled by righteous and indignant rage. And the train was bloody busy as well, so bang went my space and freedom to play AM180 by Grandaddy at an indignant volume. And then, about 45 mins out of London, in the middle of nowhere-land, the train just stopped.
At this point, I finally got what all the fuss was about re: phones and trains, as a woman started calling everyone in her phone book to complain loudly about her horrific situation which she seemed to think was only affecting her, not the 20,000 other poor bastards stuffed into the carriage with her. Her voice somehow reached into the most irritable part of my brain and carressed it with the tender touch of a kitten in mink mittens, kneading, fondling, working it into a veritable frenzy of anger until I let out a gutteral roar and beat her to death with her own forearms. Or sighed in a pointed manner. I can't quite remember which. Oh, and she was accompanied with a child and a mechanical cat, the former of which found the latter infinitely hilarious, but that may just be too much for one post.
Yeah so anyway trains suck all the available balls and I now understand why, and I'm never not driving anywhere again, even though my car is now without radio and half a headlight beepy-you've-left-the-lights-on-warning and seemingly is holding itself together through some kind of sheer Japanese warrior uber-strength of will. Woo!