Thursday, 22 November 2012

All Aboard

Lately I have felt like a sheep.


Because my train station is implementing new event style marshalling to help control the morning peak hour crowds. This did need actioning as prior to this, most mornings on the train felt like I was a blip on the Bangladesh population scale. I am not affectionate at the best of times let alone dealing with the accidental hand hold, the nose wind on the top of my head and being jammed in so much so that you are literally head to armpit with someone  and making direct eye contact with a third party also squished in.

This is how my week has gone:

Day 1- arrive to platform to usual spot and note blue markings all along the crowd. Whilst JUST noticing these markings I was then promptly yelled at by a man in a high vis vest and a clipboard to "STEP BEHIND THE LINE MA'AM". Voice in my head: oh god I totally just got yelled at in public how embarrassing. Where the frick is this line? I make it on the train and am pleased at how I can breath and not cop a mouthful of curry flavoured air.

Day 2- prepared for any yellings I immediately stood in the blue painted square minding my toe did not dare touch outside the box. The train pulls up and a Maori lady in a high vis vest parts the waters (minions) and with one very strong arm, holds us all back as her other enthusiastic arm waves, waves, waves, waves the people off. Whilst waving she too yells “STEP THIS WAY PLEASE, STAY LEFT, HEAD UP THE STAIRS YES THAT’S RIGHT KEEP MOVING AND HAVE A LOVELY DAY”. Me and a fellow minion exchange a giggle at her vocal yet polite shepherding. I get on the train and again, am enjoying my space but a little gobsmacked at the staff member telling people they cannot get on the train and to wait for the next one. (there is room for them on this one…)

Day 3- I come down the stairs to typically be in an awkward situation where I find myself trapped in a caged off area. I have apparently come down the wrong side of the stairs now and am instantly “directed” to go back and come down the right side of the stairs. Again, the voice in my head: oh no you’re being yelled at again and people are looking at you and good one, you were just in a cage. Upon making it to the ‘right’ side of the stairs I then get hustled along by a staff member who literally was just missing the sheepdog as he yelled “GO FURTHER DOWN THE PLATFORM”. Oh my god, I am flustered, I have just been in a cage and now I have to walk along the platform past millions more people and as a creature of habit, this little sheep just wants to get on her regular carriage! The train comes, the crowd surges and as I go to step on I am weeded out by the bigger sheep and then informed “STAY BACK IN THE SQUARE PLEASE YOU CAN GET THE NEXT ONE”


Day 4- I am feeling strong, I come down the right side of the stairs, avoid the cage and stand right in the middle of the blue square. The train comes and after a quick interview “DO YOU NEED TO GET ON THIS ONE OR NOT?” I am permitted to hop on this one. I am enjoying the space but I am also feeling more and more anxious each day and I brace myself for the next nip at my heels.

I see the point and I commend the goal, they have managed to get two extras trains in the hour now due to this new '60 second’ policy, however the loss of freedom while at first, was entertaining, has now become almost degrading as majority of the crowd have stopped fighting it and we all stand mute munching on some grass until the next dog barks.

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