I’m having an Alanis Morrisette week. You know. Where everything is just so screwed up that no other type of music would do. Except maybe Limp Bizkit. The kind of week that involves lots of crying, yelling, flailing of arms and gnashing of teeth, where each new day brings something new to the party.
Yesterday. The whole freaking awful week culminated in me standing on a train platform, beating my fists against a carriage door that was firmly shut against me. For ten seconds. And then watching helplessly as the train left. Thirty freaking seconds before it was scheduled to. And that is what finally pushed me straight over the edge into the abyss.
Let me just take a moment to say this: I spend £300 a month to take the train. I have had to endure trains breaking down and leaving me stuck at stations for hours (about 5 hours at one station last month.) Trains are late at least a few times a month. Minutes if you’re lucky, usually hours, especially if some poor tortured soul has thrown themselves in front of one. I have missed more than one train because I was bang on schedule, and the train was early. (And I have missed trains because I was late and the train was bang on schedule)
So, perhaps you can see why when the train pulled away without me on it I flew into a seething red rage. I screamed after it. I shouted obscenities. I marched (stomped?) into the station, and stood in line (quietly) until it was my turn. And then I said “THAT TRAIN IS NOT SCHEDULED TO DEPART UNTIL 15:34, IT IS STILL 15:33. I AM SO FED UP WITH THIS, I WANT A REFUND!!!!!” (I took an anger management course once when I was a teenager, you can tell, right?) and the man behind the counter picked up a pad of paper, ripped a sheet off, stuffed it under his plexi-glass shield toward me, tossed a pen on top and looked at me. LOOKED at me. Did not apologize, did not offer his sympathies, did not even give me a sympathetic “gosh, that sucks” look. Just freaking stared at me.
Ha. Hahahahaha. I hate the British*. But, back to the story. I called my husband. And stood inside the station ranting, loudly, about the train company, how much I had paid for the stupid season ticket, how this was constantly happening and about how they couldn’t care less. On and on and on. Seriously. Like one of those people who just won’t drop it and let people go about their business in peace. Who you just want to tell to shut the hell up already. I was one of those people. I’m not proud of it. And then I had a go at my husband for not immediately offering to come and pick me up and hung up on him. I was surprisingly not thrown off the premises or arrested or put on a plane back to the states by my long suffering husband.
And eventually I chilled the heck out and went and sat down on a bench on the platform and seethed and 25 minutes later the next train came. And I got home and we went grocery shopping and I ate a whole small “french baton” in the store,while shopping, because it was fresh and warm and I was tired, crabby and very very sad (about things and about myself and my behaviour). And as we were leaving, Olivia and I did a commando raid on the Krispy Kreme stand and bought a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Of which I have currently eaten at least four of.
It’s Friday now. And the week is just about over, and I have made it through. I have not made any tearful midnight calls to my mother (Hi, mom!), or so much as even looked at flight fares back to the states, my kids are seemingly oblivious to the turmoil that has rocked my foundations over the course of the week and no one has come up to me and said “are you ok?”. (Though yesterday they probably wouldn’t have dared!) So, I have not made a complete hash of things, despite.
And if I can make it though this week, then chances are I can make it through next week and keep on keepin’ on a little bit longer. Hopefully without any more tantrums at the train station. Being an expat is not easy. Being a poor expat with very little in terms of a support structure is harder still. But somehow we muddle through.
* I don’t actually hate the British. I do,however, hate the British attitude of “not my problem, not my job, I don’t care, tough shit.” I have been yelled at in an Hospital emergency room, by a male nurse, while I was sobbing and in extreme pain, in front of a hospital “matron” and a security officer, and nobody did anything. I have been on the receiving end of sarcasm, and lies and constant bewildered stares that say “what do you want me to do about it?”. When all I’ve wanted was someone to say “oh, gee- I’m really sorry about that- I can definetly sort it out for you!” It is mind boggleing.