Dear Mark and Sue
Re: 19.22 FGW service from Paddington to Oxford, 4/8/11. Amount of my day wasted: six minutes
Sshhh... listen. Can you hear that? Cock an ear, Mark. Cup your shell-like, Sue. Lean in. Closer. Listen...
Can you hear it?
Do you know what it is? That drip, drip, drip... it's the sound of the Colorado river, Mark. Way back in the day. Back when it was a stream, a trickle in the Arizona desert. Back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth! (Probably.) That, mes petites geologists, is the sound of the drip that would forge the Grand Canyon. Behold! Look upon this drip, ye mighty, and despair!
(You know what else this drip is? It's a metaphor, Sue: another metaphor! Me and my metaphors! I love 'em, Sue! I'd like to think my old English teacher Mr Berry would be proud of all these metaphors I keep tossing your way. And not metaphorically proud, either. Actually proud. Proud as (metaphorical) punch! He was ace, Mr Berry. Actually ace. He was the man who gave me a love of language: he's the one who planted the, er, acorn that would grow into the great metaphorical oak of my career in journalism. You can lay the blame (or credit) for all my metaphors at the metaphorical feet of Mr Berry!)
Anyway. That drip... the Grand Canyon, Mark, greatest, grandest, grooviest (see what I did there!) canyon of them all: it wasn't always so. That land used to be flat. Once upon a time, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, there was no canyon, grand or otherwise. But the drip, drip, drip... it wore away at the desert floor, it scored and furrowed and burrowed into the ground - until it created the Grand Canyon. It took a while, but it did it.
Amazing, isn't it, what a steady accumulation of little drips can produce?
Last night my train home was delayed by six minutes, Mark. I know, I know, it's not a glamorous delay, it's not one of your all-singing, all-dancing cancellations, one of your Hollywood half-hour jobs... it wasn't even one of your common-or-garden 11 minute standards. But it is another delay, Sue. It's another relentless drip in the relentless stream of drips that wears away at your customers, day-in, day-out.
It wears us away, it wears us down, it wears us out, Mark.
But on a positive note: your last letter was lovely! Thankyou! Who knew refunds were available like that! And compensation for unexpected coach travel! Alright! Ring the bell, Mark, I'm on the bus! I mean, train!