Juliet died in Such Tweet Sorrow this morning, so it’s her fault I was late for the train. Reading her untimely-if-not-unexpected demise meant I had to run – run! – across approximately fifteen miles of car park to the ticket machine, then hurriedly punch through the usual sequence, only to have it supply a weird ticket. It gave me the cheap fare, which is only for trains due into London after 13:45 – mine would get in at 13:30. But the machine had always been clever enough to understand this before, and I didn’t have time to argue, so I ran for the platform figuring the rules must have changed.
A few minutes later I’m on the Marylebone train, settling in, when Speaker Dude went bing-bong, welcomed me to Chiltern Railways, told me all the destinations, and informed me the cheap ticket wasn’t valid. Great. Now I’d have to wait for The Man to come around, then explain that a mendacious ticket machine had been wilfully obstructive, and could I upgrade? And I probably couldn’t upgrade, because I don’t think that’s possible, so I’d have to get off at Banbury and wait for the next train, which would mean I was late for the end-of-module critical assessment at uni, scuppering my year, degree and all chance of future happiness. Stupid ticket machine.
I saw The Man coming. I knew the end was near. I resigned myself to my fate. After all, the Tories are in power, Romeo and Juliet are dead – what’s the point? And The Man was only five people from me by now. Then Speaker Dude went bing-bong.
Bing bong! This train is now going out of service. Please accept our apologies. A replacement train will be along shortly. Please get out at Banbury.
And The Man went away. And the replacement train took long enough to arrive that my ticket became valid. And this leads me to one inescapable conclusion:
The ticket machine is magic.
How did it know? Nobody knew. Speaker Dude didn’t know. The Man didn’t know. The train said Marylebone on the front. Magic.
Replacement Train then rushed to London, somehow arriving at 13:30. But the ticket was still valid, and I got to uni on time, had the crit, which it turned out wasn’t so important after all, and my life is now back on track.
The evidence suggests I should worship the magic ticket machine. I will do so, and may buy it a hat.