The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Friday, October 19, 2012

Will You Shut Up! - Can't You See I'm Thinking?

I was en route to an appointment and this journey involved 4 sub-modes of transport. Car – Trains – Bus – Shanks’ Pony.

Now - who is in control to make the journey smooth, and the outcome favourable in ‘goodtime’? Of course it is Me – Them – Them – Me. The inner movements of this symphony of travel are out of my hands in terms of driving the vehicle, but like all good planning I built in a good buffer or cushion to allow for the improbabilities of ‘cosmic alignments’.
Now if a large ? has just appeared above your head then feel free to erase it. My improbabilities of ‘cosmic alignments’ is merely a euphemism for random delays caused by circumstances beyond my control.

Here’s the scene on the train journey –
The train arrives for me to get on almost twenty minutes late. “No problem,” I think because I’ve built in that time cushion of safety. “Well done,” I congratulate myself, “and the driver may make up some of that time as well.
In the set of seats in front of me are four young women on a day trip to London. I can tell from the sounds of their conversations they are excited and animated. Two of them have a style of giggle that might lend itself to possible criticism, and they all have their voice volumes set to the “eleven” button.
The journey continues, and as I watch in silence the countryside, stations, towns etc go flashing past, and their conversations continue unabated.

All is well – I feel good and looking forward to the appointment, everything’s pretty much on time, and I’m listening softly to their conversations, not at all bothered or irritated.
An hour has gone by and the train slows coming into a station we are not scheduled to stop at and, after going through the station, it comes to a complete stop. And for a moment, their conversation and all other sounds stop as well. It’s like one of those “tumbleweed” moments in a ghost town when only the breathing of the wind is audible.
And then the chatter returns – ONLY now along with the young women’s chatter is the sound of my own “brain chatter”. That internal dialogue or, as I sometimes call it, that infernal dialogue has suddenly kicked into the foreground of my mind.

And it is telling me, “Oh dear. I am going to miss my connection to the second train on my journey.” My brain chatter doesn’t just say this once – no, it keeps repeating it. I keep looking at my watch – time distorts. Seconds become minutes, minutes elongate. I do the maths and even if I catch the next available connection I’m sat there thinking and trying to just work out how late I’m going to be for this appointment. “Grrr, how irritating – is this train ever going to move?”
I then become aware that over the clamour of my own chatter I can hear these wretched voices and their stupid and meaningless conversation, and those infuriating and inane giggles. And I nearly, very nearly say,
Will you just shut up – can’t you see I’m thinking?

At that moment the train lurches into motion just as I start laughing at myself. Not loudly you understand – just an audible chuckle – but enough to hit the reset button inside my head. Clarity returns, answers emerge and the train gathers momentum. Plus – the conversations and giggles fade back into the background of my consciousness from whence they came.
The train arrives at Reading and I get off, make enquiries and catch a connection about five minutes later. The first train continues to Paddington, spiriting the young women to their day out, complete with their continued chatting and giggling.

I eventually arrive at my appointment early, imbued with the wisdom of having recovered from the visitation from a particular gremlin called “The Purveyor of Errant Thinking”. He’d shown me his wares for about five minutes and I’d almost been convinced that I’d buy some – because they looked SO real and just fitted my circumstances to a T.
When I arrived I imagined for a moment turning up to my appointment wearing that T-shirt I nearly bought, feeling uncomfortable, flustered and not in a good place – and chuckled again!

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