Rail Replacement Replacement

I stayed in London with friends on Friday night and tried to get the train back home to Brighton on Saturday. I knew there were ‘engineering works’ which meant that I’d have to brave the ‘rail replacement services’ (a euphemism for a massive scrum in some car park to get on a few 1950s style double decker buses) which filled me with a little dread.

It was all roughly OK until 1/2 way down the A23. We heard a massive bang and the bus started wobbling. Not particularly a nice feeling when you’re on the top deck. Anyway the bus pulls over and everyone gets off. Suspension was knackered.

We end up waiting by the side of the road for over an hour for a replacement bus to turn up.

Not exactly my best story ever I grant you. But I’ve not got to the point yet. I’m not commenting on buses or trains or breakdowns. My point is about what a huge amount of absolute morons there are driving on Britain’s roads.

Standing on the verge by a broken down bus makes you an attraction for sight-seers. I’ve never known what it feels like to have people rubber-necking at you. It’s just a bit odd really. I don’t begrudge people for being inquisitive, I know I’d be the same normally.

But the people I’m moaning about are the ones who felt compelled to shout humorous, witty, insightful and occasionally helpful comments from the windows of their cars, vans, lorries and buses. Or, when their vehicles were sealed tight, manged to communicate using gestures and signals. Here’s just a few of my favourites:

  • “Gutted!” from a generic wag-a-like in a hen-do minibus, her hair extensions blowing like a flammable nylon mane in the wind
  • “Want a lift” from a classic white van man as he sped by with little to suggest his offer was sincere
  • A poorly executed 1/2 moon from a bunch of teenagers in a convertible Mini that was clearly borrowed from one of their suburban mums (the Mini not the moonie)
  • AAAAAaaaaaaagh” from more than a few people who kindly felt that their expressions of sympathy were better without words in case anyone on the bus had limited English

It made me realise just how rife Schadenfreude is, and how much people seem to get out of it. I’d wrongly assumed that it was just famous people with loads of money that people get a kick out of seeing having a bad time. But no, it’s ordinary people standing next to a broken down bus too.

One thought on “Rail Replacement Replacement”

  1. gives me an idea for an art piece. set something up by the side of the road that garners abuse and then secretly video the abuse and number plates of abusers and play it back on the web somewhere (youtube jumps to mind). i think i might just do it.

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