Autumn is my favourite season. My love affair with Autumn began when we would go down to Essex every October holiday to see my grandma and she would take us into London for the day. I would see these beautiful, slim, poised women waking around with their lovely clothes and handbags. Even at the age of 11 I could spot perfection and I set my bar high. I wanted to be like them. In the ensuing years a tumultuous love affair began with my identity and therefore my wardrobe. Even now, at 26, my life goal is still relatively simple. I would like to strike awe and envy into the heart of an 11 year old girl the way those ladies did to me all those years ago. They inspired success.
That’s the rose tinted version anyway. If you look at it the other way I basically want to make children jealous of me because my peers are out of reach.
Unfortunately this image of perfection and poise still eludes me as can be perfectly encapsulated by my train journey from Hull to Aberdeen today.
In this first instance I almost booked my return train tickets for a 4 day trip for the same date. Unless I wasn’t planning to complete my journey, get off at Darlington to catch the return train straight home before tea and miss my grandpas funeral then this was unwise. Luckily I noticed my mistake before completing the transaction. Since this first near-miss I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that it’s all about to go horribly wrong. By ‘all’ I mean my life, not just this train journey, and by ‘horribly wrong’ I mean despair that terminates in a botched suicide attempt leaving me with enough functionality to live but not enough to enjoy myself.
My initial panic at having thought I had got the time of my first train wrong and only just made it to the platform on time was alleviated when I realised that I was in fact looking at a digital clock on the platform timetable rather than the time of departure of said train. This is not a mistake that the ‘Miss Together’ of my childhood would make.
The second issue was a delay on the train at Selby. This meant I had no idea when I would arrive at York and therefore no idea if it was safe for a loo visit without the train stopping while I was still in there causing me to have to fight my way back to my bags against the crowds. All I knew was that we were late and it was too bigger risk.
Arriving at York for my connection with 9 minutes less than expected was stressful enough, however having to walk with a shorter than normal stride length due to the inherent risk of giving a passing businessman an impromptu golden shower is bordering on psychologically damaging. If I earned enough I’d seek therapy.
Happily I made it to my train. ‘Miss Together’ would have gone to the toilet. ‘Miss Together’ would have strode confidently to platform 10 and stood there looking quietly gorgeous and passing businessmen would have been in no danger of any sexual deviancy, much to their disappointment no doubt.
Finally I got on the train to Edinburgh. Surely from here I should be able to gather some togetherness. Sadly not. The seat numbers were electronic and offset, I was of the firm belief that 24a simply did not exist. My need for the loo made getting my bag into the overhead area difficult and I caused a queue. With that task finally completed I loitered behind yet another businessman waiting to get past to the toilet and made him have to rush uncomfortably, it is probably for the best that he wasn’t aware if his impending danger.
On finally returning to my seat I opened a packet of crisps in an unerringly quiet carriage and pulled out this book which happened to be embroiled in a selection of cables and a mint aero…
Get my shit together indeed. It would appear that I have some way to go before I give those women in London a run for their burgeoning pay packets.