My week

I’ve had a pretty good week this week. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty good.

It began on Monday, when I had a job interview. Despite almost getting lost in the wilds of Doncaster, I managed to find the place, and spoke to the guy. It went quite well, I thought, and in fact he rang me late that afternoon and asked me to start on Thursday. Cool – so no more feeling nervous about running out of money and having to feed the family on bread and cheese.

On Tuesday I got an e-mail back from the magazine that had asked to publish an article of mine. They’re going to publish two more, and they want regular contributions! Woo hoo! Sounds pretty good to me, and in fact it’s not long until they publish the first, so I should see the cold hard cash pretty soon! The magazine is the US-based "Portable Computing Direct Shopper", and my first article should be in the January issue.

On Thursday I set out for the first day of my new contract job. It’s a bit of a hike up to Doncaster, but it’s only a short contract to get me over the industry’s usual Christmas lull, and the money’s good, so I think I can put up with it.

Here’s the commute plan. This is how it’s meant to go:

Anticipated time Event Anticipated duration
7:58 Walk to station 8 mins
8:06 Wait for train to Richmond 2 mins
8:08 Catch train to Richmond, read book 15 mins
8:23 Wait for train to Box Hill, check the temperature on the Nylex sign, watch Punt Road traffic, etc 5 mins
8:28 Catch train to Box Hill, read book 19 mins
8:47 Walk to bus station, dodging schoolkids and trying not to spot anything irresistible in the shops 2 mins
8:49 Wait for bus, enjoy the stunning view from the bus station 3 mins
8:52 Catch bus to Doncaster, avoid reading book because I tend to get motion sick on buses if I do 7 mins
8:59 Walk to work 5 mins
9:04 Arrive at work  

It’s not brilliant (for my last job, the total commute was just over 30 minutes), but it’s livable, at least for the two monthsish that this contract goes for. And I can catch up on the multitude of novels I’ve been given and lent over the last year that I haven’t got around to reading yet. I’m also considering the benefits of buying a laptop so that I can be a Geek-in-transit, and write on the train.

So that was the plan. 66 minutes or so, from door to door. But Mother Nature intervened. This is what actually happened on Thursday, the first day of the new job:

Actual time Event Actual duration
7:58 Walk to station 8 mins
8:06 Wait for train to Richmond 2 mins
8:08 Catch train to Richmond, read book 15 mins
8:23 Wait for train to Box Hill 5 mins
8:28 Board train to Box Hill. Train sits in station, as driver announces a delay due to a lightning strike (of the electrical storm, rather than the Unionist, type) in Burnley. Station announcement says "5-10 minute delay due to adverse weather conditions".

Debate whether or not to go and find a cab, knowing that as soon as I do, the train will probably move off. Decide to stay put.

Station announcement says services on another line have been suspended all together because of these adverse weather conditions. C’mon guys, we’re not facing tornados or tidal waves here, it’s just a thunderstorm!

Ring work to let them know I’m going to be late.

Three or four "5-10 minute delay" announcements go by. It is now 9am, the time I am due at work.

32 mins
9:00 Swearing at Mother Nature, I walk out of Richmond station to street 2 mins
9:02 Try to hail cab, along with a dozen similarly placed people. Several cabs go by, all occupied. 4 mins
9:06 Ring for cab. Tell operator to send a few, ‘cos there’s tons of people here because the trains are a mess 2 mins
9:08 Wait for cab, pacing up and down on kerb 5 mins
9:13 Go to work in cab. Note as we go past where the train was that it has now gone. Cab takes inordinately long amount of time to reach the freeway due to the joyous Hoddle Street traffic, but after that it’s a reasonable run to Doncaster. Keep reminding myself that although the freeway has saved my sanity, I don’t actually like freeways. 30 mins
9:43 Arrive at work. Make apologies to boss, who is surprisingly understanding.  

Thankfully things went smoothly on Friday. As far as the job itself goes, it looks like pretty interesting work, and I actually got most of the equipment on the first day! Desk, chair, computer, login, email, phone. Working, too; imagine that! Just waiting on the necessary development software, and the real work can begin!

On Saturday it was driving lesson (vroom vroom), shopping and lunch in Malvern (Mmmm…. Nandos…), caught in the rain in Moorabbin (splosh splosh), and watching the World Cup Qualifier on TV (two-two). Who’d have thought this city could get so fired up about soccer? I almost went but none of my rotten friends (or at least, the ones I asked) wanted to go. Like the rest of the nation, I couldn’t believe it when after Australia had been leading two-nil, Iran managed to equalise, winning the last World Cup Finals place. D’oh!

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.