Dear Mark and Sue
Re: 08.06 FGW service from Oxford to Paddington, 22/7/11. Amount of my day wasted: 24 minutes.
Mark! Sue! How goes the war? Bad guys still winning? Hang in there, soldiers. The sun also rises. Some day this thing's gonna end. I promise.
But not today. Today things don't look so peachy at all, do they? Today you're going to have to kick back and listen to my nonsense for a loooong time. Loosen your tie, Mark. Spark up a cigar, Sue. Prepare yourselves... because I've got a lot of talking to do. Sorry about that. But, as all three of us know, it hurts me more than it hurts either of you. And if you will waste my time... I will waste yours. That's the deal.
First things first, however. Mark: I wanted to say thankyou again for your personal responses to my complaints. I know that it can appear sometimes as though I'm rather flippant, or sarcastic, or even, as one particularly saucy girl in the office put it yesterday, as though I'm trying to bully you. (Bully you! You with your classical education and your heroic spreadsheet-studying and your fancy watch and your whole, well, Managing Directorship and all... and me with my most-hated-profession-in-the-world journalism job and my general ill-treatment at the hands of your company! I'm not the bully, Mark! I'm the kid who's just handed all his dinner money to the biggest boy in the playground and still got my (metaphorical, admittedly) head flushed down the (still metaphorical) toilet for my trouble. Is it any wonder I get a bit snarky? Is it any wonder I flick you the (once again metaphorical) Vs in return?)
Anyway. I do hope you don't think that's the case. And I do hope that you know how much I do appreciate you taking the time out to reply to me personally. It makes you a big man, Mark. A Big Man. A man's man. A man's Big Man.
So. That's the polite stuff over and done with. Now to business. Much as I love you Mark (Sue, I feel strangely shy expressing any kind of feelings towards you: you're an enigma to me right now, Sue. You're a mystery, a fable, a wispy, intangible, half-remembered dream. How can I profess love for a dream, Sue? How can we build a relationship on memory and imaginings?)
Sorry, for a minute there I lost myself. Where was I? Oh yes. Much as I respect you as a man's Big Man, Mark, and much as I yearn for something more tangible between us, Sue, I find myself once again let down by you and your service.
I was 24 minutes late for work today, Mark. Sue: it meant I arrived late for an important meeting about our social networking strategy. I had to walk in late, all elbows and knees, clutching a half-sipped coffee and dropping my notepad and mumbling apologies as everyone stopped talking and watched. In silence. In disapproving silence. I wanted to say: "Don't judge me! Judge Mark Hopwood and Sue Evans! Be silent and disapproving towards them! It's their fault! It's all their fault!" But of course I couldn't. I had to grin foolishly and take it like a man. And not a big man, either. Not a man's Big Man. I had to take it like a small man.
So. I'm guessing this is an email you knew was going to come today, didn't you, Mark? I'm betting you turned up for work this morning, Sue (how do you get to work, Sue? Do you drive? Or are you also often late?) I bet you fired up the First Great Western Super Mainframe Megacomputer and felt your little hearts sink.
There was an incident this morning. One of your trains, Mark, it broke down! I know! It totally broke down! Like it was too old or poorly maintained or something! (I've been thinking about the whole malevolent supernatural power explanation we discussed a week or two ago, and, I'll be honest with you, I've largely dismissed it. I'm a rational man, Mark, and as a rational man I know it's deeply unlucky to believe in superstition.)
So, keeping things in the sphere of the explicable, one of your trains broke down this morning. Due, presumably, to something your company could have done something about. And as a result, I had to stare out of a window at some godforsaken part of Acton for the best part of half an hour. And then turn up late for work and miss the beginning of my meeting and have to go through all that elbows and coffee stuff I mentioned. None of which, Sue, has left a particularly pleasant imprint on my tiny mind. Or, I'm guessing, on the minds of everyone else in the meeting.
That makes three journeys out of the last four that have been delayed, Mark. That's 75 per cent of my commute over just two-and-a-half days, Sue. How do you explain such a pitiful service? How do you communicate such ineptitude? Enlighten me, Sue! Educate, inform or at least entertain me. Let's get communicating! Let's communicate, in the words of the Artist Formerly Known As Prince, like it's 1999.
Although, thinking about it, if it was 1999, that communicating would presumably be by post. Or, I dunno, telegram, or carrier pigeon. Or semaphore. Okay, bad lyric choice. Let's not communicate like it's 1999. Let's communicate like it's 2011! Whaddyasay, Sue? Are you with me? Are you game?
Alright! Go Sue! I feel energised! I feel invigorated! I feel like... like a Big Man! This could be a new beginning for me and you, Sue! Let's make it happen!
Yours, in breathless expectation...