It’s really just as well that I’m one medical appointment away from a promotion, especially on a day like today.
I blithely inform people of engineering works most weekends without caring how it really affects them. If you cared about every delay or inconvenience in a city the size of London you’d crack up entirely. This weekend karma is biting me in the ass with works on the Piccadilly line, severe delays and intermittent station closures along the way. People accept it so calmly, they know at least that complaining to station staff won’t make part of the line re-open, but there’s a hubbub of irritated sighs and muttering in their little groups. I almost want to brandish my staff ID and say, hey, it affects us too. It’s not something we do just out of spite or for our own amusement. So my journey in took me an hour and half, though I had a weird book and more Barbra Streisand on my iPod than can possibly be sane.
Of course, it’s carnival weekend. So here I am, on a glorious day tacked on to weeks of drizzle and cold, directing utter eejits to a huge and crazy event that I myself will never go back to. You’d think if your entire weekend was shaped around attending this event a person might check how to get there before trundling past closed tube stations, wouldn’t you?
No matter, this happens all the time. Like the road closures for the Tour de France, when residents of South East London claimed in their droves that they didn’t know their roads would be closed despite advance warnings and notices in a publicity campaign that would have made Julian Clary seem subtle by comparison.
People irritate me beyond belief, so it’s really pretty masochistic to have placed myself in so many “customer-focused” roles, or whatever the current managementspeak for that sort of thing is. It’s not even the tourists, who have driven me batty in previous jobs; when they ask me for advice now they openly admit they don’t know what they’re dealing with, they’re usually quite grateful for my help.
But Londoners (and those on the periphery who think they’re Londoners: if you live in Hertford you DON’T LIVE IN LONDON SO SHUTTIT) are a different kettle of fish. People who don’t know any of London bar the walk from the tube station to their office, who are outraged when you suggest they walk from Kings Cross to Euston; cheeky chappy types who ring up for bus information when they already know their convoluted route through the murkiest reaches of the East End and just want to contradict everything you say.
My absolute gear-grinding, tinfoil on a filling ones though are the people who don’t know where they are. Or should I say, they do know exactly where they are, but delight in being vague. They can go from Woolwich, or Blackheath, or Maze Hill, or Lewisham etc, and even after you tell them that you need an A to B journey to plan, they won’t narrow it down. So you make a best guess, spend ages working it out and explaining it and then they say “ah well, I’ll just drive”. GRR SMASH THROW THINGS!
I do like that I know more about London though, I can do lots of bus routes in my head which is a little freaky. But I’ll never be stuck for ways to get around, so I suppose I don’t mind.