The day started well. For a while there I really thought I was blessed.

Walking to the station, I noticed I was a little late for the train. If I miss the 8:21 express, the next one is the 8:36, stopping. It may only be an extra 3 stops, taking about an extra 3 minutes, but there’s a big psychological difference! Extra time to read my book I suppose, but still.

I neared the station, walking briskly, keeping an eye on the time and listening out for an indication my train was coming. Cutting through the car park, I heard the ding-ding-ding of the crossing, meaning a train was approaching. So I started to run. My sunglasses (the cheapish ones, not worthy of the memory of my dear, departed Raybans) fell out of my pocket. I heard them clunk to the ground, and realised what the noise was. I turned around just in time to see a car turning, leaving the carpark. Vroom.

Worst case scenario: Car runs over sunglasses, which are shattered into a zillion little bits.

What actually happened: Car tyres missed the sunglasses by about 30 centimetres. Phew.

So I picked up the sunnies and ran towards the crossing and station entrance.

Worst case scenario: It’s my train coming, the crossing gate closes, and I can either risk death and/or a fine, or miss my train.

What actually happened: It’s not my train, it’s one on a different track, and the gate is open. I waltz into the station, validate my ticket and wait for the train.

I began to realise that it was a stroke of luck that the train wasn’t dead on time, because it usually is when I’m running late. After a couple of minutes the train arrived.

Worst case scenario: The train arrives. It is a non-air-conditioned one, and none of the windows are open, so I’ll be sweating like a pig for fifteen minutes. It is too packed to get a comfortable place to stand.

What actually happened: The train arrived. It was a non-air-conditioned one, but a few of the windows were mercifully open. It wasn’t so empty that I could get a seat, but I did get a good spot adjacent an open window, where I could enjoy the breeze, and where I could have one hand on a strap to keep myself upright, and one hand on my book.

The train zoomed along, and pretty soon I found myself getting off at my stop.

Worst case scenario: Parliament station escalator repairs, under the supervision of the Dodgy Brothers Escalator Repair Company, continue for the fourth week in a row, leaving four billion passengers all trying to fit onto one escalator. Some little old lady has planted herself firmly on a step in the "fast lane" and nobody behind her is game enough to ask her to move to the left hand side. When finally reaching the surface, more teams of little old ladies clog up the fare gates, unable to work out for themselves which way to put their tickets in the slots. Then I get surrounded by swarms of charity collectors, rattling their tins and proclaiming how us commuters are all filthy greedy capitalist bastards if we don’t hand over all our cash to dubious charity X.

What actually happened: Seemingly for the first time in weeks, all the escalators were working correctly, and everyone seemed aware of the unspoken escalator etiquette of keeping left unless overtaking. Everyone moved smoothly through the fare gates, and the charity people were nowhere to be seen.

I walked the block to work, successfully found my security pass, didn’t have to wait for the lift, and strolled into the office.

Only to find the power to the PCs was off due to a building fault. D’oh!

8pm postscript: One escalator out of action on the way home.

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.