From the moment he uttered the first shout of the F word, I’d already judged him.
In fact, I probably judged him before then. He was tall, well built and dark-skinned, with dreadlocks. He wore a face cap and sagged his jeans. And he was speaking on the phone. Rather gruffly. And he was sweating.
I silently wished he wouldn’t sit beside me. After a long day at work, I needed a comfortable 30-minute journey home. He didn’t – he sat opposite, but facing me.
Right after the train manager announced ‘…this train will be calling first at Milton Keynes Central’ that’s when he screamed. He had gotten on a wrong train.
I must have rolled my eyes. How does one get on a wrong train? Didn’t you read the sign on the platform? Didn’t you hear the several announcements made before the doors were finally shut? It didn’t help that he was lamenting to the person on the other end of the phone, exclaiming how he thought all trains stopped at his exit point – Watford Junction. I kind of concluded he did this intentionally to avoid buying the right ticket. Still, on the phone, he mentioned to his friend that he had not been in this area for about 6 years. At that point, I believed him. Well sort of.
This incident happened months ago.
Fast forward to last week Thursday. I got on the wrong train.
I’ve used this same route for almost two years now and I still got on a wrong train. Did I not read the sign on the platform? Did I not hear the announcements? To be honest I didn’t. I was engrossed in reading an article on David Miliband, and how he thinks Hilary Clinton has a fantastic smile. (It was quite a surprisingly interesting read). I tapped my seatmate ‘Sorry is this train calling at Milton Keynes?’ In a friendly but an I-am-sorry-for-you tone he chirped, ‘I’m afraid I don’t think so, the next stop is Stoke-on-Trent’.
Stoke on Trent? Like close to Manchester? An extra hour away from my stop.
The train manager said it was impossible to stop the train for me. But he was really nice. He gave me a ticket to ensure I could get back to Milton Keynes on the next train from Stoke. He also let me use his cell phone to call Tee explaining my (mis) adventure.
I settled down into my seat and thought. ‘Oh well! At least I’ve never been to Stoke’.
I love Stoke on Trent! There was something so warm about it. I couldn’t leave the train station premises but it felt so welcoming. Like the people of Stoke had no worries in the world.
I had about thirty minutes to explore before my train back to Milton Keynes. My phone was dead so I walked to the customer services department to get a charger. The attendant was so friendly and warm. Old Baba* that he was. After admitting that he knew nothing about all these new smartphones, he asked if I’d had a drink. When I shook my head he offered me access to the First Class waiting for lounge and told me to help myself to anything. I couldn’t figure out how the coffee machine works (I’ve never drunk coffee, but who knows what Stoke does to you!) so I settled for a 250ml can of Pepsi – that I later realised had 107 calories!
I wanted a picture showing that I had visited Stoke. The policemen so eagerly offered to take one for me. Why are they so nice? I was almost getting suspicious.
Then I went back to get a selfie with my old Baba. The extra two hours (and the motion sickness I encountered) on the train that day was irrelevant.
Now I think I just want to live in Stoke.
At 8.52 my train to Milton Keynes arrived. I sank into the seat and snapped out my phone. In approximately fifty-nine minutes I heard, ‘We are now arriving at Milton Keynes Central. Thank you for travelling with Virgin Trains. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform‘.
I don’t think I got up immediately, because the guy ahead of me turned back, gave me a wink and said ‘Now, you don’t want to miss your stop, do you?’ Hahaha. ‘I wouldn’t’, I replied. How did he know though?
When I realised my folly after the Stoke bound train doors shut, I caught one particular woman looking at me funny. She was probably judging me, perhaps thinking ‘Yeah right, the wrong train indeed. She probably wanted to avoid paying the fare’.
To her, to me and to all ye judges, note ye that:
Any experience of being the judge or the judged? Or of any similar wrong-stop adventures?
PS: I don’t think everyone in Stoke is that amazing. At 8.51, while the MK bound train was approaching I asked a middle-aged woman if she could take me a picture with a Stoke-on-Trent wording background. She declined to say she had to get on the train. Maybe she’s a Londoner?
*Baba – Nigerian lingua; an (endearing) term for an old man
The Selfie – Baba and I
Samuel-BiyiApril 6, 2016 at 12:08
No coffee? Never??
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 6, 2016 at 12:22
Never oh! Growing up it seemed like something meant for adults. I guess in my mind I’m still a child.
Goodie YaroApril 6, 2016 at 12:50
lol. still a child indeed. haha.
Paula Olaitan BenedictApril 6, 2016 at 13:46
Thank God… it’s in ur mind o … hahahaha
IFE EsanApril 6, 2016 at 13:57
That happens a lot. Sometimes from Euston station, I’ve had to get on trains heading to Birmingham straight, thinking it will stop at MK…so wrong! You just get to cry, so I’m always extra careful to read their stops before I turn to Kachi, iyawo Tola who found herself at Stoke…. Loool
Paula Olaitan BenedictApril 6, 2016 at 13:40
I was going to ask the same thing o Sam.. Kachi 😲 for real?
Paula Olaitan BenedictApril 6, 2016 at 13:41
This is so true and it happens all the time… I guess it takes a conscious effort to try not to judge people really because somehow, it just always comes back…
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 6, 2016 at 17:21
We really should. Especially all these unnecessary and baseless judgements. I bet if the man was in suit and tie, I wouldn’t have judged him.
Paula Olaitan BenedictApril 6, 2016 at 17:27
Hahaha… I know right @suit and tie. Thanks for giving me the heads up. I will be very careful during my stay as I will be jumping from one train to the other… 😆
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 6, 2016 at 17:22
I never thought it will happen to me oh! I’m extra careful now. Thanks for commenting!!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 6, 2016 at 17:22
Always a baby girl oh. Lool.
'DemolaApril 6, 2016 at 18:17
Actually visited Stoke because I didn’t want to pay Virgin so I found a much cheaper ticket that had me doing 3hours in Stoke. Realised my old friend really appreciated the visit and ‘ceramics museum’ isn’t as weird as it sounds.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 7, 2016 at 08:51
You see! I was just really tired and didn’t know anyone there and it was late. If not, I’ll have loved to wander around. Thanks for commenting. Hold up: Why aren’t you subscribed to the blog?
Oyetunji TemitopeApril 7, 2016 at 09:21
Demola, oya answer na? *claps hands* please hit the subscribe button (in Bri’ish accent) immediately. ha ha
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 7, 2016 at 10:07
Lmao! Tope thank you it worked. I guess you think its AJB though. Hahahaaaa. I think this is a different Demola. But thanks!
AmakamediaApril 8, 2016 at 06:44
You make me want to travel to ogbodo oyinbo*. It takes a level of consciousness not to judge people.Out of point but I gotta ask; Kachee, how come your battery died? Is “NEPA”there too? Lol.(Ogbodo oyinbo – foreign land)
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 8, 2016 at 08:16
…and we all need to be conscious to get that consciousness. Haha.My phone battery is dead half the time! Lol. I think I take the constant electricity for granted, knowing I can charge the phone whenever.ps: I say ‘Obodo’ for land. so ‘Obodo Oyinbo’. Dialect difference maybe?
AdakuApril 8, 2016 at 11:28
I love how you see that ‘judge not’ We are condemned by the very judgement we give and not that we would be judged someday. When you don’t hold judgement against anyone, you don’t feel judgement against yourself.It really does take a level of consciousness.Love your blog 😊
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 8, 2016 at 12:47
It does indeed. Thank you so much Adaku. I was in the middle of some ‘boring’ work when I saw your comment and it put a smile on my face!
Berry DakaraApril 10, 2016 at 00:48
Awwww, this was sweet to read. I found myself feeling like moving to Stoke too :pBut yes, the judgment lesson is key(es) -Berry Dakara Blog
Kachee || KacheeTee.comApril 10, 2016 at 07:03
Thank you Berry. I plan to take a proper visit to Stoke, the I’ll let you know if it’s worth moving!
KIKELOMO OMOTALADEApril 26, 2016 at 11:59
We really aren’t meant to judge but sometimes the whole process just runs through your mind before you know. God help us all. i don’t know if this applies everywhere in England/United Kingdom but when i visited i made sure to check online every damn time for the bus number and busstop while for trains I will just ask any friendly face at the station regardless.
Arrey EchiOctober 26, 2016 at 12:31
Misadventures are always excellent story backgrounds for writers.We are all guilty of judging someone even without knowing their story.Enjoyed the write up.www.joy2endure.com