The Rail Card
I bought a 16-25 rail card last year that entitles me to a discounted rail fare as well as a discount on the London Tube. It expired in mid-October, but I didn't realise that it'd expired until two Thursdays ago when I noticed that I was charged the full Zone 1 fare when I got out of the Tube station at Old Street.
Yesterday morning, I applied for a new card. Yesterday evening, I bought my train tickets to London and selected the 16-25 rail card option. Simultaneously, I received an email from the rail card company informing me that my card has been despatched. This morning, while walking to the train station, I thought to myself, 'I hope that the train conductor doesn't check the tickets today.' Sometimes they do, but usually it doesn't happen; on my last trip to London, it didn't happen.
Not only was the train that I travelled on absolutely disgusting today, but it wasn't even 5 minutes into the journey when I heard someone saying, 'Tickets please.' The train conductor was onboard. The train conductor was onboard on the day that I knowingly travelled with an expired rail card - and on the very day that I hoped that it wouldn't happen.
I didn't know what to do, so I decided to just show him my ticket and rail card. Unfortunately, he noticed the expiry date and informed me that the penalty fare was 46 pounds.
I knew I was in the wrong so I didn't bother to argue it. While he was fiddling with his card machine, I wondered to myself, 'Is this situation right and/or fair?' I was in the wrong for knowingly travelling on an expired card and attempting to exploit the discount; but at the same time, was it really fair to penalise me for this when the wrongness of my action arose arguably from a technicality? It wasn't like I am no longer a student at Cambridge; it was merely that my card was in the mail somewhere in the UK.
When I got home tonight and swung by the porters' lodge, guess what I found waiting for me in my pigeon hole? My new rail card.
Jurisprudence suddenly came to life for me in that very moment I sat on the train with Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter in my hands, waiting for the conductor to take 46 pounds from me, and wondering whether it is more important to be right or to be fair, and thinking about Antonio Negri's critique of the law - specifically, its generalising nature that ignores the inherent individuality of every individual case. Is justice about rightness or fairness? How can what is right be unfair? My action was wrong pursuant to the letter of the law, but there were mitigating circumstances: it was the first time I'd knowingly done that, and I was getting a new rail card anyway. And so I think that it was unfair that I was fined even if I was technically in the wrong.
That was such a great start to the day, wasn't it?
Antonios: The Idea is More Appealing than the Flesh
Why say anything meaningful? It was all in your head. Either you latched on to the correct keywords with no reasoned basis to do so, or he manipulated the situation so as to create the impression of a sense of connectedness; either way, it was all in your head. The precise second in which he changed was the precise second in which it dawned on him that you weren't there to pick up where you left off; to shed the clothes, stumble into bed, let him have his way and genuinely enjoy the moment, but feel empty and cheap when the moment ends and he doesn't hold your hand. At the V & A Museum, you sat next to him on a bench and he had his arm around you; he was flirtatious, cheeky, and then suggested, 'You want to study? We can do that at my place.'
You said, 'No, I don't want to go over today.'
He realised what was going on; or rather, what was not going on. And then it all went downhill. Conversation became stilted to the point of non-existence; he made jokes that you didn't laugh at and vice versa; and the flirting was over. Where had the chemistry gone, you wonder? The chemistry, pre-making out, all the things that he said: You can buy me a drink next time; Are you 36? Because that's my limit; What kind of places do you like?
Why say anything meaningful? There was nothing meaningful to say; or rather, there are plenty of meaningful things to say, but he is not the right audience. You walked out of Imperial with him and you wondered why you were following this guy around, and on a painful bus ride to his the conversation about books went like this:
Him: How's the book?
You: It's great. You didn't like it right?
You: So what do you like?
Him: History. And popular science.
You: What about literature?
Him: I don't read it much, no.
A part of you wanted to rescue the evening. This plan was thwarted when you received a phone call from the Apple repair shop where you'd dropped off your iPod earlier in the day, telling you that they couldn't repair it because it looked like it'd been tampered with by a third party, and that you had to pick it up and bring it to an Apple store. Seeing as you don't live in London, you had to do it within the hour before the shop closed.
And so you were saved by the bell, as it were. You should have cut it off sooner; at the point when he removed his arm from your shoulders, probably. You wanted to say something meaningful, but there was nothing meaningful to be said in a situation with no meaning. It was meaningless to ascribe attributes and characteristics to someone who seems to fit the mould - the mould of the kind of person that you've always wanted. The reader, the philosopher, the thinker, the looker, the sweetheart. (He can be a sweetheart; despite all this, he is a good person.) You held out hope that, despite your instincts telling you that he wasn't long-term material and that he wasn't interested in the way that you were (and you weren't interested in the way that he was), your instincts were wrong.
I already had an unpleasant feeling when he texted me at noon, saying, 'Do you want to come over to the V&A?' Of course it made sense for him, but still.
I am not sad. I am just a bit disappointed. But that's life, and at least this is out of my system.
To round off a thoroughly disastrous day, my iPod is with me, all dead and deadweight-y and unusable.
The guy at the repair shop said that there was a problem with the model and that Apple did a general recall or something. He said I could get a replacement. But now, I have to send it to an Apple shop, and I can't process the replacement until I do so. But the fucking problem is, there are no available appointment slots in the Cambridge store for the whole week (hence the trip to London in the first place).
This is simply bloody ridiculous. It's not my bloody fault that Apple products suck; how does a battery of an electronic device die after 4 months? How is it possible that there are so many people in Cambridge who need their Apple products serviced? Does that not speak to the shit quality of Apple products?
It is impossible for me to put into words how annoyed I am. I may just go to the store and yell at someone just to feel better.
The 8th of November 2016 absolutely fucking sucked.
It is ending in 12 minutes. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.