The things you read

Those who know me, know I will read anything. Even the back of plastic water bottles found while tidying up the platform. This particular one assured me it didn’t just look good, it “had ancient wisdom” as well. That made me stop and take a closer look.

Apparently this is because it is “infused with native flower essences”. “Handpicked native flower essences” no less. Apparently Northern Australian indigenous people are involved in this process. I couldn’t resist taking a quick sniff of the remaining water, but I can’t smell anything floral. Perhaps that is because it is “refreshingly non-flavoured”

But I can smell something.

Ahh! The scent of male bovine manure.
P.S. School’s back and I had my first train surfers yesterday. They even wore balaclavas as they rode on the rear coupling. Guess the summer holidays are over.

The Man-kini

 

D is studiedly bogan. He shakes my hand with an iron grip, tells me he’s from Gippsland and that in his depressed country town every third street has an ice-lab. Shades of “Winters Bone”. He describes getting drunk and driving down the main drag yelling at the shards (ice addicts.) Then he tells me he’s joined the local medieval re-enactment society and how much he likes fighting with the rattan canes. (thus exploding the whole bogan persona in my eyes.)

A pleasant young man. I’m not sure why he’s in Melbourne, but I haven’t pressed him in case he’s here with the Mental Health Service or the Juvenile Detention Service both of which have flats in the area. He may just be here to go to University. What I’d really like to know is his relationship with the two different young women he took the zoo the week before Christmas both of whom he seemed to be on arms-around-waist relations with. (Watch out for your station staff. They notice things.)
Today he looks a bit rough. Apparently, he drank too much on New Year’s Eve.
“I don’t remember much but my mates say I was wandering round Elizabeth Street in a man-kini singing and playing the guitar.

“Did people tuck money into your man-kini?” I ask.
“No,” he says, “But I do remember getting smacked on the arse a lot.”

Inquiring minds want to know!

So on the last day of the year a little old man potters into the waiting room  – carrying a pick.  I’m so curious and just a tiny bit concerned. What sort of person carries a pick on the train? Is he a miner? A madman? An assassin?  .

The old guy looks rather sweet.   He seems to know me – we must have spoken before.

“They making you work even now,” he says sympathetically.

“I see you are too,” I say, hoping for more information.

“Oh I’m still working on that primary school. But I’m a volunteer and can stop whenever I like,” he says and potters off down the platform.

WITHOUT GIVING ANY EXPLANATION OF THE PICK! ARGGHH!

I hope the primary school is still there when the children get back from holidays.

Happy New Year to you All.

 

Good news for M and C

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I haven’t seen my homeless friends M and C for a while but, fingers crossed, this is a good thing. A couple of months ago they dropped by the station and told me that after five years on the housing list living in boarding houses and sleeping rough, they’d been placed in social housing. They both hope they’ll be able to get some of their children back. Terrific news! A happy ending at last!
M said – Now I’ll be able to make a cup of tea in my underpants and never have to beg again!
Then he gave me a cheeky grin and asked me for 20 dollars so that they could spend their last homeless night in a motel. I passed the money over feeling foolish but as the weeks roll by and I no longer see them begging at their old haunts, I feel more and more that it was money well spent. So relieved.
Merry Christmas everybody! And may all your homes be warm and cozy or cool and comfy depending on your hemisphere!

Train Surfers – WTF

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A new friend He was found in a railway station car park.

 

 

 

School’s out – at least for the final year students and it sure shows.

This week, the train driver and I suspected there were kids riding on the rear coupling of the 12.04.  A sticking out leg is kind of a giveaway.  When a driver looks in his rear view mirror the train behind should look smooooth.

“For those riding on the back I’m calling the police,” the driver said over the intercom.

I don’t know how they heard him, but the kids jumped off the back.  Then rear carriage doors opened and two more kids popped out followed by another and another and another.  In the end there must have been a dozen on the platform.

I was thinking about locking myself in the office.  12 teenagers is too much even for a big bold station host like me.  But they all jumped over the fence at the other end.  I could hear them laughing as they ran away through the park.  No doubt it was all about the narrow escape they’d had.  I suspect their interpretation of a narrow escape is different from mine.

More Train Surfers

O.K.  It’s time for some relief from things we cannot change (so that we can marshal our strength for the things we can.)

Time for another Station Story

My gloomy morning was vastly improved by scaring teenage train-surfers.

Here’s how it went.

The driver of the 11.37 down train got off and walked down the train to check the back for the kids he saw hopping on the back.  There were no kids there anymore, but they had graffitied all over the window of the rear driver’s cabin which meant the train was no longer safe to drive back to the city once it had reached its destination.  This is a major reason why your trains are cancelled, people!

I’ve started checking the back of all the trains now and with the next down train I hit pay dirt.

As I was checking the rear coupling some boys got off the final carriage. The head of one of them appeared around the end of the train.  He saw me on the opposite platform and waved sheepishly.  Suspicious.  There were four of them all around 13/14, clearly too young to know how to look innocent.

The train sat and sat in the platform.  3 minutes, 5 minutes.

I thought there must be some serious emergency so I went over to the opposite platform to see if the driver needed help.

The boys were milling round on platform 2.

“Why isn’t the train moving, Miss?”  (I love how cheeky boys manage to make Miss sound like an insult).

The cheekiest said “Can I have your beanie, Miss?”

“I’m just going to check what’s wrong,” I told them though I had already had an idea what was going on.

On seeing me the driver came down the platform.  “I’ve called the cops” he said, loud enough for the boys to hear.  “We’re just waiting for them to come.””

Wow the speed with which those boys took off! Impressive.  They ran and ran and didn’t stop running till they reached the other side of the second oval. No more riding down the line graffiting the back of trains for them that day.

I should have done a high five with the driver.  Result!