Monday, August 27, 2012

What Is Your Blog FOR?

by Michelle Cunnah

This is a question I asked myself when I first began to blog.
Did I want to share my writerly experiences? Well, there were already a lot of very good authors doing that.
Did I want to give advice on different aspects of the writing process? Well, there were already a lot of very good authors doing that, too.
So I decided that I would use my blog to poke gentle fun at myself. I always seem to experience problems with red tape and travelling, and generally getting thwarted all over the place, so I had plenty of material to use. But mostly I want to (hopefully) entertain my readers between books.
Here’s one from my recent archives.

And Then I Got Hauled Off To Jail!
No, not really. But I might have. It’s a possibility. With my kind of luck. Even though Oh Patient One is currently rolling on the floor laughing at me and telling me that I am being melodramatic. Even if it is in a good kind of way.
He wasn’t laughing this time on Wednesday, I can tell you. Neither was I. Because this time on Wednesday we were traveling back from our Rotterdam apartment to the UK so, of course, we had Trouble With Travel. This is what happened. . .
We arrived at Rotterdam central station. Oh Patient One went to a ticket machine to get his ticket, I went to another machine to get mine. And as I was counting out my change and feeding it into the machine (these machines only take coins), Oh Patient One startled me.
Oh Patient One: “Michelle, what are you doing? I already got you a ticket with my Dutch debit card.”
Me: “You did?”
Oh Patient One: “Yes. Come on. We’re going to miss our train.”
(And this from the man who half an hour earlier had asked me why I had my coat on ready to leave our apartment, we had loads of time to catch our train.)
So I pressed the cancel key, retrieved my Euros from the machine, and when I looked around. . . Oh Patient One had disappeared. I headed for the platform from which the Amsterdam Schiphol train was departing and couldn’t see him. The fact that it was rush hour had something to do with this, I think, but I didn’t want to risk not having a ticket (Oh Patient One had both tickets) and not being able to find Oh Patient One on the train. So I headed back down the stairs from the platform to the main station area. Still no sign of Oh Patient One. And I couldn’t call him on my cell phone because my smart phone doesn’t work outside the UK. But no problem. I would hang around for a few minutes, then if I didn’t find Oh Patient One I would just buy another ticket and get the next train to Schiphol.
A few seconds later Oh Patient One appeared.
Oh Patient One: “There you are. What happened to you?”
Me: “Nothing happened to me. You forgot to look to see if I was with you and you left me.”
Oh Patient One: “Well, I assumed you’d know which platform I was heading for. Anyway, we’ve missed that train, there’s another one from this platform.”
We climbed the steps to another platform, got on the train which said ‘Amsterdam’ on the front, and found some seats. Oh Patient One rooted in his pockets for the train tickets. Now, people have a tendency to leave their receipts in the ticket machine dispensers, and the receipts look a lot like actual train tickets. And what Oh Patient One had picked out of the ticket dispenser was one ticket to Schiphol and one receipt belonging to a complete stranger.
So, basically I had no train ticket. From nearly having two tickets I had nada, and what would happen when the ticket inspector came through our carriage? Would I get arrested? Would I have to pay a huge fine? I sat and sulked for a bit.
And then I noticed that our train was stopping at places it should not stop at. Oh Patient One noticed this at about the same time, and we looked at each other.
Oh Patient One and Me (simultaneously): “We’re on the wrong bloody train, aren’t we?”
Yes, we were. I do not know how we managed this. We have made this same journey so many times, we should know which trains to climb on. Or not. Fortunately for us the next stop was Den Haag, or The Hague, home of the international criminal court (and would it feature me very soon for my lack of ticket?). When I say fortunately for us, this is because the Schiphol trains also depart from this station. Also, if I could only get down to the ticket hall without a ticket inspector accosting me I would be able to purchase a ticket and not be traveling illegally.
Got off the train, went down to the ticket hall, got a new ticket. Not a ticket inspector in sight. Whew.
And then we got a train to Schiphol no problem, got our plane from Schiphol to London Stansted no problem. Apart from the fact that the flight was full and I ended up sitting next to a guy who thought the shared arm rest was his exclusive property.
It was only as we climbed onto the bus which would transport us back to the town where we live that I realized that I didn’t have enough English money to pay for my fare. Fortunately for me Oh Patient One did. J

A hilarious tale Michelle, though I'm sure many of us are glad we aren't you!

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