Yesterday I was an intrepid explorer. I left the comforts of Hull to travel to one of my most hated destinations.
(Apologies to my London readers.)
I don't know why but whenever I go to London something traumatic always seems to happen to me which then taints whatever fun I may have had. This time however I was determined everything was going to work. I’m 27. I can handle the Tube. I am a strong, capable woman. (I told myself.)
I made sure I was well prepared – I printed off a lovely little map, I strategised, I knew what I was doing. It was going to be easy, I was going to get a tube from Kings Cross to Euston (yes I know they’re terribly close but walking in London means getting lost in London and I wasn’t going to take any chances) and then it was just a walk in a straight line to Tavistock Square. Everything was sorted, I was confident.
I was confident up until the point where I began to panic about my complete inability to wake up in the morning. My alarm usually goes off at 6.30am but I’ll rarely rise until after 7am such are my snoozing capabilities. I was going to have to get up at 5am to catch the train from Hull. Cripes. This panic made its way into my sub-conscious and I had the most horrific missing-the-train dream ever. When my alarm did go off at 5am I was so relieved the dream wasn’t a reality that I bounded out of bed immediately. I would make the train – hurrah! I was confident.
I was confident up until the point where I ended up in a herding pen at Kings Cross underground due to extreme over-crowding on the underground platforms. I stood patiently and tried to curb my mounting panic as people began shuffling ever closer together, causing my claustrophobic fears to escalate to new heights. I held my ground when the barriers finally were opened and everyone surged forward as if these were the last trains leaving London. But I got on the right train, I got to Euston in one piece and I strode out of the station, clutching my little printed out map. All I had to do was walk in a straight line. I was confident.
I was confident up until the point when I realised that although I was walking in a straight line, this straight line happened to be in the wrong direction. I was officially lost in London. I tried to ask for help but annoyingly London lived up to its stereotype and not one person stopped when I asked for help. I hate it when stereotypes are proved right, I don’t want to believe that all people in London are like that but I have never in my days seen somebody who’s lost in Hull get point blank ignored. It made, and is still making me, incredibly angry. I didn’t want to completely freak out but I had a feeling that the time to panic was drawing near so I decided to retrace my steps back to Euston and start again and as luck would have it saw where I needed to go and started heading in the right direction. Hurrah! I was confident.
I was confident up until the point when I realised I was 20 minutes late to the conference (which might as well be 2 hours late if you’re pathologically early like me) and would have to walk into the hall while the keynote speech was being delivered. It’s ok I thought, you can creep in the back. Oh no, this marvellous room had the doors at the front so I had to walk through, past the keynote speaker, in front of the entire audience and scrabble around looking for a chair.
And all this for a conference which turned out to be really rather pointless.