Sunday 16 April 2006

I had to run for the train

Got to get out
My itchy feet get the better of me every now and then. The emotion and reaction can be so rash, well more determined, I’ll say, the planning and execution sometimes leaves me enough time to end up in disappointment.
Luckily, that has never really been the case, but my fuse gets shorter and my awareness is heightened and intuition sharpened.
Too alert for my liking
I miss nothing in context and occasion; it has not helped a developing but annoying side of me that I see as aggressive, intemperate, impatient and grumpy all as a result of some of these issues.
For instance, I really cannot afford to get angry because it has a horrible physiological effect on me; I begin to shake, my voice rises into a falsetto and it is suddenly lost, not helping my coherence – now, that is anger management as an evolutionary enhancement to my makeup.
I note that this rarely happens in company of friends, their contributions, interjections or conversation generally offers palliative respite in times of dire human frailty.
Tram 26 again
So, I decided, I would be off to Antwerp for the night. Having decided to catch the last train from the Amsterdam Central Station, I had 25 minutes to spare and the wretched Tram 26 was to arrive in 5 minutes, with a 6 minute ride to the station, I should have 14 minutes to get a ticket and get on the train. All planned down to a T.
Tram 26 came on time and we only have 2 stops before the Central Station and so everyone gets on and we proceed according to plan.
We reach the next stop and a crowd of young ones gets on, the conductor and driver both check tickets or collect fares on entry at any of the 2 entrance doors.
However, some of those adolescents used one of the exit doors and got on, which is fine if you then walk up to either the driver or conductor to confirm your fare.
Conductor misconduct
Some did not, so the conductor announces that the tram would not leave till everyone who got on has been checked.
Nothing happens; I have a train to catch and it is looking like my 14 minute leeway is cut in half and swiftly moving to a quarter.
Wait a minute! I have a season ticket, I have pre-paid for my travel as many season ticket holders have done and then we are denied the service we paid for because some “black riders” - as fare dodgers are called in the Netherlands – got on the tram.
I ran for the train
I am getting exasperated, the conductor could easily have walked through the tram and checked, but no, the protection of the cage and the need to do obeisance at that temple had me literally running for the train, one big leap as a cheetah catching prey, I am on, but panting in the most unsightly way.
Now, I remember, I once had a ride on a cabriolet [1] – not a car, but horse-drawn – (Philistines) as I gracefully got on and looked rather majestic in full African garb, well, as if one looks any less on a bad day.
Courtesy of the Museu Nacional dos Coches, Lisboa
Running except for when one is on a cross-trainer is just not the done thing, but that is how well-laid out plans get messed up because others are in being utterly inconsiderate.
My journey to Antwerp is another episode.
[1] The National Coach Museum, Lisbon, you should consider visiting in person, like I did in June 2005.

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