I was reaching for my pocket and missed.  Could happen to anyone.

Only I was standing right at the edge of the platform. And the phone bounced. And fell. In three pieces.

It wasn’t a particularly deep track and as I stood trying to calculate if my arms were long enough, a nice Jamaican transport guard approached.

“STOP!” he screeched.

 

I wasn’t doing anything. Yet.

“You see I dropped my phone,” I said, pointing. “And I think I could probably reach it…”

“NO!”

“But look,” I said, pointing to the woman sweeping the platform with a long brush and a dustpan on a pole. “We could really easily just–”

“It’s NOT LEGAL,” he shouted. “That track IS ALIVE!”

Wow. Alive? Really? But surely, the phone (the important bit with the sim card and all my phone numbers in it) was just kind of leaning on the rail. Was it really live? Or was he merely trying to stop me leaping onto the tracks at rush hour?

WHOOOOOOSHHHH.  A train swept onto the tracks.

“DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!” my friend shrieked.  “It’s DANGEROUS.”

Well, yes, obviously.  But really dangerous?  Or just another example of health and safety gone mad?

What if you touched a live rail with a plastic dustpan on a wooden stick? And by the way, how was I going to wrest the dustpan out of the hands of the platform cleaner?  She was eyeing me suspiciously, gripping her dustpan with both hands.

“We’ll have to PHONE HEADQUARTERS,” yelled my friend. “TOO DANGEROUS.”

Yes. But it was a particularly shallow track.

I waited till he’d turned his back.

“NO NO NO!” the guard shouted.

I couldn’t bear the thought of losing all those numbers.

“NONONONONO!”

A vision of my dog. And a piece of toast just at nose level, on a chair.

Sigh.

I needed a new phone anyway.

98

5 thoughts on “The little engine that couldn’t.

  1. Malaika 5 years ago

    What? You didn’t go back to Sydenham?

  2. David Hepworth 5 years ago

    Funny that should have happened to you. My daughter was on a Tube platform only the other day when somebody’s phone went on the track and a guy lay down on the platform, reached out and retrieved it. She said she could barely look. I’ve lived in London 40 years and I’ve never seen anyone even think about doing it.

  3. bookwitch 5 years ago

    That guy had clearly never heard of live tracks.

  4. Preena 5 years ago

    That would explain why I can’t reach you!

  5. sharon creech 5 years ago

    Don’t tell your mother you even THOUGHT about it.

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