Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A Recently Deposited Stool From A Horse That Has Recently Consumed Several Especially Potent Curries

They say you shouldn't write while you're angry. Or at least I think that's something 'they' might say. They're wrong if they do. I find that writing while angry has a cathartic quality. There's things you can't say but you can write. Harrison Ford said something similar the first time he saw the script for Star Wars.

So I'm angry. Here's why. Two main reasons today. We're going to ignore the things that drive me slowly insane every day otherwise this entry will take too long and it's not that often that Emma's Sheffield Wednesday are live on television in a decisive play-off game. The first occured early this morning. I can't go into too much detail lest my employer force me into some Cersei Lannister-like naked walk of shame. Good luck getting me to walk you capitalist piss hat, but you get my drift. Their wrath will come down upon me in some other way. Something worse than having to work for the bloated behemoth's hovel for possibly the next 25 years. More if I live that long and Zelda from Terrahawks keeps raising the age of retirement at the current rate. The point of all this is that my employer revealed to me today that it places my value and that of my colleagues at something around the level of a recently deposited stool from a horse that has wolfed down several hundred especially potent curries. We are nothing to our employer we just exist. Take your meagre pay and fuck off home and 'oh would you like to come and help us with....'

No. Fuck off.

So, already feeling devalued and disrespected (what else is new? every time a woman opens a door for me I feel demasculated to the point where I want to cut off my own head) I was not in the mood for the chicanery which took place at Lime Street Station this evening. Emma had texted me at lunchtime to say she was going home. Something had gone wrong at her branch of the clown factory and she'd had enough and just wanted out. The problem was that I had the front door key and she had got quite close to the train station before she realised this. So since she had to walk all the way back up towards the bloated behemoth's hovel I thought I'd take the car keys with me and give her the option of taking the car home. I'd get the train. No problem. I'm all about showing willing.

With about 20 minutes to go before the departure of the 5.17 to Thatto Heath I bought a ticket. Apparently £2.60 for a single is a discount because 'you're in a wheelchair'. It's not and I'm not. It's still fairly scandalous and I'm a wheelchair user. But at this point I just want to go home so I avoid debating the appropriate language and progress to the gate. They have gates now. All professional and shit. The type where you put your ticket in and it clicks or whirrs and the gate opens. Not long ago you just went through unchecked and if the guard never asked you for your ticket on the train well then £2.60 extra went in the beer fund. Not now.

But you know, I am happy to pay if the service is good quality. Or at least if the service I receive is only as shitty as the service everyone else receives. I ask the man on the gate if I can have a ramp brought to platform 1;

"Have you told someone?" he asks me.

What?

"I'm telling you."

This seemed a reasonable response to me. There were still around 15 minutes before departure and he looked suspiciously like railway station staff. Who else was I meant to tell? I couldn't think of anyone better equipped to provide a ramp at a station platform than him but to cover the bases I told 300 people on Facebook. Perhaps I should have fucking cc'd the Minister For Transport. Or gone out onto the concourse with a megaphone and announced it;

"EVERYONE!! THERE'S A CRIPPLE TRYING TO GET ON A TRAIN AT PLATFORM ONE!! SAVE YOURSELVES!!!

Clearly I didn't do enough. I waited and waited. With about two minutes left before departure the man I had asked earlier came whistling by. He asked me where I was travelling to and there seemed to be hope. But he never gave me any further information. He just kept on walking by down the platform. I didn't know whether to follow him or not but with time running out I decided to. He stood chatting to the guard on the train....my train.....and when he turned around to see me he looked surprised. Surprised and inconvenienced. He made an attempt to unlock a ramp by the platform that was frankly an insult to the term half-arsed. He spent no more than six seconds twirling an oddly shaped tool in the vicinity of the lock and then gave up.

"I can't do it." he mumbled. Then after another brief consultation with the guard he blew his whistle and said;

"It's too late mate, we've had a signal."

With that the train pulled away. Too late. But I'd been there 20 minutes. I stormed back down the platform towards the gate. You could even say I flounced. Use whatever word you like. I was positively frothing with rage.

"Who's in charge of this fucking shit show!" I asked of a man stood uselessly by the gate. He denied it was him, as did two other men who I was incorrectly passed to. By this time I had completely lost it and one of the useless bastards asked me to stop swearing at him. With more than a trace of irony I told him to fuck off and advised him that I'd be using whatever language I liked until I was afforded some respect.

Now, swearing at railway station staff isn't big or clever, but in this situation it served a purpose. If, as a wheelchair user, you sit there and politely take this sort of shit you are going to achieve nothing. You might as well apologise for being a cripple and promise to let them bend you over and screw you any time they like. Besides, I challenge anyone to live with a disability as stigmatised as mine for 41 years and not feel the need to tell someone to fuck right off every now and then. It just continually takes basic rights away from us, a situation exacerbated by a society and a workforce that does not give a flying fuck. Legislation helps in some ways but largely it just causes us to be viewed as a problem to be got around. It doesn't matter if I miss a train because they can apologise and promise to 'look at' their 'procedures'. Not good enough.

So only swearing would do. It was all I had to register the depth of hatred I had for the rail service at that particular time. People who are offended by that need to have a word with themselves. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows that they are just words. I could say some really offensive things without using a single swear word just as I could pay you a sincere compliment using the most foul vernacular. I needed emphasis and shock value to wake the cretins up. I did that.

They offered me a place on the next train but you can imagine where I told them to shove that. It cost me £37 to get home in a taxi but I'd rather pay that than meekly accept the piss poor rail service I was offered. It's not about the money. It's about the fight to be treated like a human being, especially by people whose superiority complex is unfathomable and unjust.

I'm driving home tomorrow......

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's appalling and I'm outraged on your behalf. Please tell me you're going to take this further, they need to buck up their ideas.

Stephen Orford said...

Hi thanks for reading and for your comment. I'm going to try to but I don't expect much. They'll apologise and promise to improve but I doubt things will improve. We're too small a sub-group to affect them financially and that's all anyone cares about these days.