Every Friday I try and make the 16:18 from Manchester Piccadilly to go home for the weekend, and every week I fail and have to wait another hour for the 17:18. I’ve come close on a couple of occasions – actually getting as far as watching the train move away just as I get to the platform. But normally I’m about 2 or 3 minutes out.
You see the client I’m working for now has got this stupid rule that I have to work my allotted hours never starting earlier than 8am or any later than 10am and never leaving any earlier than 4pm or any later than 6pm. If only I could get out 3 minutes early I would be ok, but no, I’m destined to never make the 16:18!
I’ve been trying to work out the schedule of the Manchester metro system which I use to get between my place of work and the station, but I’ve realised this is a futile exercise. The trams are quite regular but they conspire against me to ensure I never quite reach my destination in time. I’ve tried a few different options. First I waited for the tram that takes my all the way, then I tried getting on the first available tram which doesn’t go to my destination but will get me halfway, and after getting off I speed-walked, suitcase trailing behind me giving everyone in front of me the dead-eye to make sure they got out my way. But no – still didn’t make it.
Last week I thought I had it. Every week I’ve been buying tickets to use the metro before I get on, just as you’re supposed to, but I started to notice that hardly anyone else was bothering. I also realised that in all the time I’ve been in Manchester I’ve never actually been asked to produce a ticket. So last week, I got to the tram stop and low and behold a tram turned up straight away. So instead of risking trying to get a ticket on the platform before the tram pulls away again, I just jumped straight on without purchasing the ticket. The tram wasn’t going to my destination so I got off at the half-way point and low and behold again, another tram turned up on the adjacent platform just as I was getting off which would take me to the station. So I jumped straight on board, confident that I would finally make the 16:18. However, the next thing I heard was “tickets please”. Shit! You see what I mean about destined never to make it in time. Anyway, I jumped straight off again to avoid what I guessed would be a heavy fine.
Now you could say that if I’d have bought a ticket last week in advance I would have made it, so maybe if the trams are in synch again this week and I’ve got a ticket, I will in fact finally make it. No chance. The stars will align, the wind will be blowing in the wrong direction, the cows will all be lying down, the birds will be flying backwards, and all the other universal factors will come into play to ensure that I never, ever, make the 16:18 from Piccadilly.