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The Wrong Direction - Short Commuting Story

Updated on November 16, 2011

Lilly couldn’t see a train standing on the platform when she was going down the stairs which probably indicated a delay… again.

This long distance train was quite unreliable and often late but she still kept aiming for it as it was taking her home quicker than the local stopping one.

She looked at the departure board and moaned ‘Oh no, 20 minutes delay!’ She sent a text to her boyfriend that she will be late. She wanted to spare him waiting for her at the station for too long. ‘Next train on the platform 8 will be 4:37, direct train to London Paddington’ the voice could be heard so Lilly moved away from the platform edge as it wasn’t her train. The train she was waiting for was supposed to be next.

Bicycle parking next to the rail station in Oxford
Bicycle parking next to the rail station in Oxford | Source

To kill the time she launched a mobile version of Majesty - the game. She was busy growing her domain, training new troops and attacking rats and undeads so she was only barely aware of what was going on in the outside world.

She could see a Paddington train stopping, people getting off and then on. Then the train left. She briefly checked the board to notice that her train had been delayed by another five minutes. She moved closer to the yellow line and stopped where the doors should be then continued growing her village.

The train arrived when she was in the middle of the battle so she got on without stopping the game and found herself a comfortable sit. Strangely enough the train was half empty ‘must be the half term had started’ she thought and focused on training the magicians.

The ticket inspector entered her coach and asked all passengers for the tickets, so she took out her season ticket and showed to him. She checked her watch. ‘Still 10 minutes to the destination’ she thought and got back to her game. After several minutes when she was waiting for her troops to reach the enemy castle, she looked out of the window. The train should be close to her station. ‘Hold on, something is not right’ she thought and paused the game. The area wasn’t looking familiar at all so she started to wonder where she was.

‘Excuse me’ she interrupted the fellow passenger ‘where is this train going?’ she asked. ’To Manchester’ the lady answered. ‘Manchester? Crikey!’ something screamed in Lilly’s head. ‘I’m on the wrong train! And with every passing minute I’m going further away from home!’ she thought, shocked with this realisation. ‘And how on earth the inspector checked my ticket if he didn’t notice it was for the wrong route’ she wondered. ‘Think, Lilly, think’ she encouraged herself. ‘What now! What is the next station?’ she asked herself and looked around to find the answer. She didn’t need to wait long as the voice announced that the next station in 5 minutes time will be Oxford.

She has got on a phone to her boyfriend straight away. ‘Honey, you won’t believe it but I went on the wrong train and I am now on my way to Manchester!’ she said. ‘To where?!’ he asked in a shock. ’Manchester’ she repeated. ’Apparently the first station is Oxford and I don’t really know what to do as I don’t have a valid ticket!’ she said hoping he would come up with some solution.

‘No worries baby, I’ll drive to Oxford and pick you up but it will take a while’ he said reassuringly. ‘How long roughly?’ she asked pleased with his solution. ‘Don’t know yet, I’ll text you when I check on my sat nav’ he answered. ‘See you soon baby’ said her boyfriend and hanged up.

The train rolled into the station and she got off wondering how she will manage to leave the station without a valid ticket. She really didn’t want to buy one just because of such a silly mistake so she headed to the human operated gate to show her current season ticket to the operator. She was ready to explain herself but it wasn’t necessary. In the same manner as on the train, just showing a season ticket was enough and he let her through – nobody really was checking the route on the ticket!

‘Now what’ she asked herself. The answer came after a minute in a text from her boyfriend informing that it will take him at least an hour to get to the Oxford. ’Shopping or a coffee then’ she decided as she didn’t plan to spend a whole hour at the station. She was looking for any local map but didn’t find any so she left the station hoping she will see something interesting outside.

And she saw. The road works in the station area so there was no parking space at all but a huge traffic jam instead. ‘I’d better find another parking option so we don’t get stuck in the traffic’ she thought and took out her mobile. HTC did a great job and she could see the map of nearby area with a touch speed. She noticed that there was an ice rink in a walking distance next to the main road and figured out they should have a car park there. So she used the sat nav option on her mobile to guide her and walked there to check if it would be suitable for a meeting point.

It took her less than 10 minutes to get to the destination. The car park was small but enough for their needs so she sent the location details to her boyfriend and found herself another target on the map – a shopping centre. ‘I love this mobile’ she thought keeping it in front of her like a compass and following the arrow on the map. She spent more than half an hour in the Oxford town centre, admiring the architecture and visiting local shops before she decided it was time to head back.

She was still on her way when her boyfriend arrived so she needed to hurry up a little as she didn’t want him to get a parking ticket. Within few minutes she reached the car park and they could head off home. ‘I took a little unexpected route back from work today but it was much more interesting than the usual one’ she thought amused.


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