Having left for Holborn underground station at 7pm, like every other evening, I headed happily for the Piccadilly line feeling pretty chuffed with myself that I had avoided the disruption on the overground line I would normally take. Got to Finsbury Park and switched to the Victoria Line only to discover that there was a power failure on the line that meant all trains were suspended. The earlier smugness was starting to wane. Heading back to the Piccadilly Line, I journeyed on to Turnpike Lane in the hope of getting a bus instead.
Exiting Turnpike Lane into an unpleasant squall of rain. Bent double against the wind and precipitation I resolutely strode to the nearest bus stop. Jumping on a 123 that had arrived in short order, I felt like things were back on track. That was short lived, as we arrived a stop short of Tottenham Hale, the 123 broke down. Off the bus and into the wet again. Another brief wait an I am on a 230 to Blackhorse Road for a bus closer to home. Outside Blackhorse Road and a 15 minute minute drenching later, my bus finally arrives.
I know what this must sound like, the ramblings of a disgruntled commuter, that isn’t the point of this post. The point is what happened next. I head for the back of the bus as it has the most leg room and a fellow passenger, also at the back, leaned over and made an offhand remark about the weather. It is at this point that related the tale of my journey woes. He kindly sympathises suggesting that the best solution is a drink when I get home. As proper courtesy dictates, I ask him where he has come from.
He told me that he was returning from an outpatients visit to the hospital where he was being monitored after having been in a coma for nine and half months. He had been on a night out only to have his drink spiked by a friend.
We spoke for another ten minutes or so about how his next real drink would probably kill him and because of this he wouldn’t be able to go to his sisters wedding. The bus reached his stop, shaking hands we parted with the standard ‘look after yourself’.
Honestly, I hope he does, I genuinely do because this was an imperfect man who had been treated badly by someone he should have been able to trust. This also made me understand better than ever before how lucky I am. In general how lucky we all are and that the old adage is an unerring truth. There are people in the world worse off than you.