|June 22, 2012||Posted by Arthur Ripley under satire|
I suppose that with this being my first ever article for The Student Review I had better explain that my credentials for the role of student writer are probably sub-par. First and foremost because I’m not a student.
But before the pitchforks come out and I’m chased down the road with my trousers round my ankles – metaphorically speaking of course – while I may not be a full time student I do attend college once a week for six months a year , so I’m off the hook right? The rest of the time you will find me counting beans at an accountancy firm.
Other professions are available.
While all you full time students are all still in bed then, rolling off the gallon girl / boy whom sober you wouldn’t even touch with your mates, we part time Charlies are forcing our way through the centres of towns and cities to our respective places of employment. Trolling through the wet and cold at 08:00 tired and hung over from last night’s stint at the bar talking about who should play up front for England or why if you were PM things would be a lot different around here. At this point you feel like the day will never end, and in reality it hasn’t started. You just want a hassle free introduction to the day… And here is where the general public seem to play a blinder. Every. Single. Time.
The common dawdler – regular sightings have occurred in big shopping malls, large tourist areas and when making your way on or off public transport. But there is only one way to guarantee a sighting of the common dawdler: be in a rush.
As my feet passes through the railway station doorway and I am cast out unto the world, groggy and foggy eyed, the bumbling begins. “Sorry mate.” “Oh, sorry mate.” “Whoops, sorry, did I catch your foot?” “Sorry mate but your umbrella is poking me in the eye.” My journey to work is just one long apology. Tripping over people is a constant factor in early morning city life. Frustratingly, the distance from the railway station to my desk is around a third of a mile; I mean, I can almost see it from the station. You could throw me twice and I would be within spitting distance. Yet still this journey, this skid mark on the face of my day, takes 30 minutes to walk. An hour’s round trip just because people haven’t quite slipped out of neutral yet and can only meander to their destination.
What I don’t understand about this ritual is that it’s eight in the morning – understandably the pavements are heaving, but these people are all here for the same reason aren’t they? We are all in this together, surely? We all got up at the crack of sparrows in order to be somewhere. Our sole purpose and objective in the morning is to get to work. So why are we now walking at a pace Keyser Söze would be embarrassed with?
The problem is that you feel whatever energy you had instantly sapped from you. You find yourself drifting with them like some sort of limp fish, just wobbling downstream, hoping you bump into enough objects that you will by chance be diverted to your destination. Rather than making a dash for it, two minutes into this commute and I have already succumbed to the aura of misery that has befell all others in my vicinity. I’m a passenger in a sea of inept travellers. I have accepted my fate: I will be late.
Luckily the average student will avoid this pressure cooker atmosphere, but this is daily for me. (Bar one day a week, six months of the year.) What we need, or I need rather, is a trend-setter. A man who sets the benchmark of coordinated walking excellence. I don’t profess to have all the answers and I am just one man, but should we not have a meeting of some description and talk about this? By all means, when we’re entering the conference centre with all the recognized dignitaries in tow dawdle as much as you like. Bumble to your heart’s content. But my goodness, when we walk out – and we will walk out – I’m expecting organized streams of people moving off in set directions at a decent pace. No hugging or saying goodbye, no pleasantries of any kind – just a pace befitting the nation we live in.
Now that a rock-solid solution to this problem has been found, who are the culprits in this eternal struggle against these wanderers?. Is it a collective effort, a gaggle of dawdlers if you will, or is it one serial slow coach? An arch-nemesis to the theory of efficiency and speed?
Having never been at the head of this parade of zombified work horses I can’t say for definite, but each commuter will have their own theory. My gut feeling is that at the front of this herd is a chain of at least twenty, linked arm in arm, dragging their feet and loving every minute. People with names like Deirdre and Murray who won’t be rushed and will be damned if anyone is passing them by at a pace anything other than leisurely. Perhaps we will never know.
One thing is for sure. While the mantle of king of the dawdler will always belong to the post-night-out student and those homeless people who seem to talk in tongues as they walk past you, the early morning commuter is coming up fast behind – or slowly behind, depending on how you look at it.