Wednesday, 7 March 2012

6 March 2012. Letter 91

Dear Mark and Sue

Re: 18.51 FGW service from Paddington to Oxford 6/3/12. Amount of my day wasted: eight minutes.

Hey Mark! Heyyyy Sue!

(Sorry Sue, I spent an hour yesterday editing an interview with Henry Winkler. You know Henry Winkler, right? Old Winkler? Winkles? Winkolucci? The Winklemeister? That’s right! Henry Winkler! The Fonz! Heyyyy! It’s infectious is what it is! You can’t think of Fonzy without thinking: Heyyyy!)

Sue: Heyyyy! How’s it going, kids? Happy days? What’s new in the world of train management? Is it all still a blur? Is it making sense yet? Has it stopped making sense? Have you found your feet? Are you getting away with it?

You are? Good! Great! Keep up the good work, groovers! Keep on rockin’ in the free world, as the noted model railway enthusiast and pop music iconoclast Neil Young so famously whined. Keep on train managin’ in the free world!

Anyway. Enough enthusiasm. Enough with the exclamation marks already! Stop it with the screamers! Let’s pause.

Let’s – oh, sorry, we’re still pausing.


That’s better. Let’s all take a deep breath and clear our tiny minds and collect our thoughts and calm it all down. Let’s change the mood from glad to sadness. Slow and low – that is the tempo.

We grow old, Mark and Sue (and our skin is cold): we can’t keep capering on in these letters like a bunch of over-hyped adolescents. We can’t keep prancing about the page like a gaggle of sugar-saturated toddlers. Our letters: they need to sober up and stop monkeying around.

To business then! And enough with the monkey business!

(Although that reminds me: permit me a small digression, Mark. Indulge me, Sue. That reminds me – once my commuting days are done (barely a fortnight hence!) I’m going to have to dispense with my three-dozen typewriting letter-monkeys. I’m going to have to find a home for my simian literary army. Those clever chimps I employ to write these things for me (write faster, little monkeys! Write harder! Write with more references to obscure pop songs!) – I’m going to have to retire them.

Poor little monkeys. Whatever shall become of them?

Don’t despair, Sue. Dry your eyes, Mark. I’ve found those apes a home. They’ll be going to University! They’ll be matriculating with another 999,964 monkeys come the end of March. And those million monkeys will be sat in a room (a big room) with a million typewriters and given a million years to come up with the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Just to see, once and for all, if it can be done.

Although, between you and me, I don’t give them much of a chance. After all: there have been billions of humans writing for a quarter of a million years and only one of us has ever managed to write the Complete Works of Shakespeare, right? And we’re still arguing over exactly which of us it really was.)

Sorry, what? Oh yes. To business! To business without all these exclamations!

Mark. Sue. I have been on a delayed train. I have suffered the hospitality of a First Great Western carriage and found it sadly wanting. Mine eyes have seen the shaming of the late coming of your locomotive. Last night I lost eight minutes of my life to the poor running of your service… and if I am older for it, I am not wiser, nor more experienced, but only more melancholy.

Or, to put it in less flowery terms (those monkeys are practising, Mark! They’re boning up on the old iambic pentameter!) – I got on this train after work, okay, and it went, like, slower than it should have? And we was delayed and stuff? And then I got home late and my missus was all like, you’re delayed and stuff? And I was all like, yeah, I know right? And she was all, bummer? And I was all, yeah, totally? And neither of us could concentrate properly on MTV Cribs after that.

(That’s how we talk in my house. Me and the old ball ‘n’ chain, the trouble ‘n’ strife, the current Mrs Dom – that’s how we communicate. We keep it real. We mean it, man.)

Ah, the English language, Sue! Does your heart not burst with the richness of it, every day as you sit in your Communications Command Pod at the First Great Western Secret Volcano Fortress just outside Slough, and prepare for a full day of communicating? Do you not think, as you activate the Ultra-High-Frequency Communications Extranet, as you log on and plug in and get ready to communicate the bejaysus out of the day…do you not think: ah, the English language! Such bliss it is to wield such etymological power!

I bet you do, Sue! I bet you think exactly that! I’m picturing it now (I have to picture it, as I haven’t got too much in the way of actual communicating from you to do anything but picture it) – and I don’t mind telling you: it’s a pretty pretty picture!

Go for it, Sue! Use the whole glorious alphabet! Employ every one of those 26 suckers to get your point across! Glory in the fact that no damn dirty ape is ever going to write Henry IV part II, even if billions of them type away for millions of years! Communicate the failings and the triumphs (mostly the failings) of First Great Western and show those monkeys who really rules the world! One nil to the homo sapiens!

Oops. Got a bit carried away with the old exclamation marks again there, Mark. Sorry about that.

Where were we? Oh yes. I was telling you, in sober and serious terms, about my delay. I was delayed Mark. There was a delay. You owe me some of my life back. Eight minutes of my night, gone.

What’s that you say? Put it on the slate? Do I have a choice?

Au revoir!


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