Tuesday, 20 March 2012

19 March 2012. Letter 96

Dear Mark and Sue

Re: 18.51 FGW service from Paddington to Oxford 19/3/12. Amount of my day wasted: seven minutes.

Mark! Sue! Wake up!

Wake up it’s a beautiful morning! See the sun shining for your eyes! Wake up, it’s so beautiful! For what could be the very last time!

Actually, don’t worry about that last bit. It’s not going to be the very last time, Mark. Fret not, Sue. There will be a tomorrow. There always is. That’s the problem with tomorrow – it just keeps coming. That’s the thing about tomorrow – that sucker just don’t know when to quit. Creeping in this petty pace from day to day till the last syllable of recorded time: that’s what tomorrow does alright.

But what am I saying? We’re not here to philosophomise! We have not come together on this beautiful morning in England in the spring to misquote Shakespeare and recall the lyrics of oddbod Britpop also-rans the Boo Radleys!*

These matters are of no consequence to men like us today (no offence Sue: men and women like us. Or rather men like us and women like you. Men like us and a woman like you. A letter-based ménage a trois. A train-related threesome. But not in a rude way, obviously). These things are mere distractions! We’re here, for what could be the very last time, to talk of trains!

It’s all about the First Great Western, baby, as Puff Daddy so presciently put it. And more specifically, it’s all about the First Great Western train I caught home from work last night that ended up running seven minutes later than it was supposed to.

That’s why I’m writing to you today! That’s the deal we’ve got going on! You waste seven minutes of my life on a Monday night – and so I write a letter designed to waste seven minutes of yours in return come Tuesday morning. That’s been our pact these nine months last, that’s been our story. And if it’s largely been a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing – well, what isn’t, eh? (Hey, that’s a pretty good line, isn’t it? Someone should use that. Someone should write that down and use it!)

So! The trains. Oh, the trains, Mark! Sue: the trains! In this, our last week together before my work at the nation’s most popular super soaraway Sunday supplement is done and I once more ascend into the commute-free happy hunting grounds of freelancing – in this final week, here at the end of us, I was sort of hoping there would be no delays.

(I’ve been hoping that every week for the two years I’ve been commuting, Mark. If the definition of madness is repeatedly doing the same thing again and again whilst expecting a different result, then I fear it may be time to call the doctor.)

But of course that wasn’t to be. As sure as the sun rises in the morning and tomorrow follows tomorrow, there will be delays. It’s what you do, Mark! It’s what you are, Sue! And so, with that in mind, and despite the fact that I only have four more evening commutes and three more morning commutes before I quit this sorry business altogether, still, I shall not say goodbye, but merely au revoir.

I am fully confident there will be at least one more delay and one further letter to write before we snuff out this brief candle.

Until we see each other again, Mark! Catch you later, Sue!

Au revoir!


*The Boo Radleys – now there was a strange band, Sue. Don’t you think? I always get them mixed up with fellow third-division Britpoppers Dodgy. Did I ever tell you how the drummer from Dodgy (fat bloke, pork pie hat – almost certainly not the only pork pie in his life, if you know what I mean) once tried to snog the current Mrs Dom? He totally did! And she, to her eternal credit, totally didn’t.

Anyway, enough of that. The Boo Radleys: now there was a strange band. Named after a character in To Kill A Mockney Bird, by Harper Lee Beckham. All about a bloke who goes on trial falsely accused of murdering some posh type slumming it in Whitechapel in the 1820s. The whole thing is narrated by a little girl – and Boo Radley is the name of her father, who’s chief prosecutor. He hangs him in the end. Great story! I know it like the back of my hand! But strange band nonetheless. Though at least none of them ever tried to get off with my wife, to be fair.

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