An Afternoon in the Life of a Writer

Originally posted on another site on 29 January 2010.

Firstly, the title of this post is a bit misleading, because the events I’m going to write about is not writing related. Luckily, the afternoon is not a typical day in my life either. If it were I would no doubt be in a looney bin by now.

The afternoon in question started at 4.30pm, the moment I walked out of prison…I mean…my work place and headed for the station. It was raining, heavily. I didn’t care as I had an umbrella and was thankful the temperature wasn’t 40+ celcius, as it had been for a few days. I navigated the bridge, finding my way down to the street below with ease. I felt quite good, even though I had been unwell for most of the week. The work day was over and there was only one more day before the weekend.

I paused before crossing the main road, noticing the gushing rain water trying to find it’s way to the river. Once on the other side of the road, all was good, I didn’t have far to go before I reached the station and then I would be homeward bound.

It was at that moment that I gasped aloud and stopped in my tracks. A car filled with laughing youths had ceased the opportunity to amuse themselves and had driven directly into the water and sprayed it all over me. I was soaking wet down my right side. Not damp. I mean dripping wet – hair, bag, clothes and shoes – completely drenched! The shock of the cold water hitting me unexpectedly was what stopped me from moving for several seconds.

A few minutes later I boarded the train, my skirt dripping a trail behind me, my cold feet squelching noisily in my sandals. I found a seat and sat down, the wet skirt clinging to my legs. It felt uncomfortable to be sitting with wet material between my chilled body and the seat. My backpack was as wet as my umbrella and I didn’t know what to do with either of them, except discard them on the floor and hope the puddle that quickly formed around them would run unnoticed by the other commuters. It’s difficult to relax and read in that condition, but I tried – although the pages of the book were damp.

If that had been the end of it, I would have been OK. But it wasn’t. That was the beginning of my two hour trip. Four hours later I finally made it home!

Four hours. It’s a long time to sit with wet cloths on and I’m sure that my discomfort added to my mood and stress. Anyway, twenty minutes after boarding, the train came to a stand still. Fifteen minutes later we were told the train in front of us had broken down. Finally, we made it to the next station and the people from that other train boarded ours. We were on our way again, but I rang home to let my partner know I’d be late. Another twenty minutes passed and again we found ourselves at a stand still. We were told that lightning had struck a signal box and it was twenty minutes before we moved again. I rang home again. This time saying that I’d phone prior to reaching home so that I could be picked up. We crept towards home, but it wasn’t meant to be. The train stopped once more and this time we were told that because of the lightning there was no signals between where we were and my home station. An hour later we had not moved an inch. My clothes were still more than damp, but no longer dripping. I was cold, hungry and irritable. I had given up trying to read. I pulled my jumper out of my backpack to find it was damp. And we were stranded in a “dead zone” so I couldn’t phone home. By this time, all the passengers were angry and restless. One poor mother of a newborn baby did everything she could to quieten her baby, with no luck so we had a baby screaming for two hours. Other small children started getting upset and crying too. Youths were restless and started playing music (loud) to pass the time. There was a lot of bad language being thrown around too. None of this made the trip even slightly bearable. It was a horrible, horrible four hours.

Finally, the driver received permission to carry on without the signals working. When my home town came into view I discovered the battery of my mobile phone was dead so I couldn’t phone home again and I then had to disembark and walk home in the rain. What a perfect ending to the day!

I got home at 8.40pm and went to bed at 9.30pm so that I could get up at 5am this morning and start the whole routine all over again. The weather man claims there will be an electrical storm this afternoon! Oh bliss!

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