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There’s another more positive post in the pipeline, which will be finely honed and carefully crafted before it hits the ether-press, but hey, folks, it’s been over 30 years since I last heard anything and I’m just not used to it. I’ve hit the wall – the Wall of Sound.

To put matters into context, this week is the long-dreaded “office move” week. A trundle-trundle shuffle-squeak-squeak-squeak-rattle-clash-bangggggggggg noise heralds the arrival of another trolley-load of crates coming in, then being set down. Chugg-chugg-chugg goes printer 1. Churr-churr-chuff-choo goes printer number 2. Chigga-chigga-churrrr, bang-thump-wallop-bang-rattle is someone attempting to get number 3 going, right behind me. Chicha-chicha-squeeeeak, chicha-chicha-chicha squeeak, was someone forcing the last two files into an already groaning crate next to me. Thump-errrr-brrrrrmmm was a full crate being hoisted onto the floor, inevitably followed by clatta-clatta as the flaps of the next were pushed open, then flap-flap-flap as files are perused before another, fainter, chicha-chicha-squeeak, further away. Dingle-ingle-ing went the phone, answered by a male colleague shouting down the line to make himself heard over the din, but adding to it – plonk in front of me. Oh bliss, there’s no one adjacent to me on the left, but that’s not much good as my left ear is the dead one . . . still, one must be grateful for small mercies. And I haven’t even started to pack yet, as I’m awaiting my consignment of crates. It’ll be a mad last-minute scrimmage on Thursday.

I know now exactly what people mean when they say they can’t hear themselves think. I also know the feeling of sound going right through your head. I’m so attuned to sound now I even hear you cry: “but why don’t you take it off?” Well, I need to get used to it, otherwise I’m never even going to learn to tune it out, but I did compromise: I turned the volume down two notches.

Bliss after 5.30pm. A few of us are still typing away – I’m doing some serious editing. I leave at 7pm for the quarter-past train home, except it isn’t coming just yet, as the previous train is still stuck somewhere near Paddington, and to crown a fabulous day full of joys, there’s a train stuck ahead of Valley-of-the-Pigs, so the train on my platform, which isn’t going to my destination, is sitting there, blocking my own train from coming in. The screens are scrambled, as all the trains are delayed, so there’s no means of knowing which train is first in, and as they’ve all been turned around rapidly at Paddington they’re still bearing the stickers saying they’re Paddington-bound, so no clue either. The tannoy is updating people incessantly, boom boom crackle hiss boomy boo bom hzzza hoo boom boom zzzza, but lipreading a tannoy is one of those impossible skills, especially when it seems to be speaking something that doesn’t seem to relate to any variety of English I know. Roarrrr roooarrr rooaarrrr as one train comes in, then another, then roaarrr-squealll-roaarrr-ch-cha-ch-cha-ch-cha squeall-squooo chchachchachcha eek-oo as they set off again to beat the backlog. But none of them are mine – yet. Roaarrr booom booo rooaarrrrr roarrrr hzzza crackle boomyhissrooarrrrr as the tannoy announces the train that’s arriving at the platform, as clearly the folks who are making the announcements are a bit behind, running about like headless chickens peering at the computer screens to see which trains are on which paths and how long, and making frantic calls to each other and to control on their walkie-talkies.

To their credit, the station staff did look after me and made sure I got on the right train, so full marks for customer service there. They’re usually very good – after all, they have to look after one of their regulars, if nothing else. I finally arrived home at around 8.20pm, which isn’t so bad when you consider it could have been an awful lot worse (I’ve endured some horrors and I could write a whole other blog about being a commuter.)

By the time I arrived at my home station, all the birds had gone to beddy-byes, so I didn’t even have a cheery little chirp or a perky little peep to accompany me on the walk home. All I had was the beepabeepabeepa of the crossing, far more audible than at rush hour in the morning.

I’ll let Bear have the last word – not something I usually do. He said calmly, ‘I wondered when you’d say “Divven’t* like it.” I’m surprised you lasted this long.’

*Divven’t is Geordie for “don’t”.

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