One of the great benefits of being deaf in London is the gift of free travel given to me by my local council in the form of a Freedom Pass. It’s quite simply the most wonderful perk in the world to tell you the truth.
It is tough getting around in London with a hearing loss sometimes – buses terminate for no reason and don’t think to put out a subtitled announcement so I’m left sitting on the top deck looking like a weirdo, and announcements come over the tannoy at tube stations causing people to tut and roll their eyes while looking at their watches, and I can only wonder what is going on.
But sometimes I do feel a little bit spoilt by having a Freedom Pass. Until yesterday…
Yesterday, I went to London Aunt’s for a catch up and dinner, and to deliver London Cousin 1’s replacement flip-flops – she left the first pair by the side of the road while doing handstands in Tobago… darlink!!
Anyway, on the way I thought I would stop off and do some shopping and so as a result, it was quicker to take the Tube.
On arriving on the train platform, the screen announcing the train destinations wasn’t working and there was a man announcing them instead. When the train I needed pulled in, I double-checked the sign on the front, which said where it was going, and hopped on.
Then, I began reading Jenny Colgan’s new book, Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend – which I have nearly finished after just two days, it is that brilliant – and that’s where it all went wrong.
You see, I think somewhere along the journey, the train driver must have announced that the train was changing destination but I didn’t hear him. And the book was so captivating, I didn’t look up, until…
I had already travelled five stops in the wrong direction!!
Looking up and seeing a random tube station name instead of any of the ones I was expecting was quite a shock, such a shock in fact I nearly didn’t make it through the doors as they closed to depart. People were staring, probably wondering why I wasn’t taking any notice of the door closing alarm, which I can’t hear, and also probably wondering why I felt the need to make a mad dash for the doors when the train had been sitting at the platform for a few minutes already.
And so I retraced my steps and arrived at London Aunt’s, three tubes and two buses later, late, frazzled, and having not done one speck of shopping.
Freedom pass? Essential pass more like!