I recently changed jobs leaving a big company for a much smaller company. Before I joined the new company I used to drive to work. It was always a tiring journey because of the distance and the traffic I had to endure every day. It was costly too because petrol for two hours on the road is no child’s play. Before I bought a car I used taxis – the worst nightmare. The queue on the ranks used to be so long that one would queue for more than two hours. That was definitely not working for me. Although car maintenance was more expensive than queuing it was still the best choice.
When I joined the new company I was determined not to drive as the traffic was worse this side of town. I embarked on a mission to find convenient and affordable transport (not willing to sacrifice another R2500.00 on petrol as previously). After asking around I was informed about train services that had free shuttles. Apparently I could catch the train in the morning at 06:30am from Germiston to Johannesburg. Then from JHB to Rosebank I would then connect with a free shuttle. In the afternoon the same shuttle would collect me from my workplace and drop me at JHB to catch a 17:10 train. And do you know how much I would spend? It would only be R485.00 per month. I found it hard to believe such low fares for such good services. Apparently the train is very fast and user friendly. Everyone sit nicely and there are coffee/tea attendants plus a newspaper, you know a first class like environment. I jumped to the opportunity of saving money and being pampered daily. Then my travelling was sorted, I was happy.
The train and the shuttles were nice and all that. We had a whatsapp group administered by the train manager to update us about any urgent information. One afternoon as we were in shuttle to the station a message beeps alerting us of about twenty minutes delay. I figured that the train will be late so I decided to start at CNA just to browse through interesting titles and to also buy a chocolate. After about ten minutes of walking around I decided to go to the station and wait there with other commuters. As I descended the stairs I only saw less than five people there. That platform is usually packed with the commuters I travel with. I wondered if I was at the wrong platform or what because it was sincerely not possible to be that empty. I double checked the platform number is was indeed 13 & 14. What has happened? Was I left behind? But how because they said the train would be twenty minutes late and I was ten minutes early. I hurried down to ask the few people there. They confirmed that it left at exactly 17:10 as usual. But it was late, or supposed to be, I protested. They simply shrugged and said it’s gone. ‘Oh my goodness’, I signed as I sank down. What was I going to do now. It was almost 17:30. I thought of going to the normal trains but was again deterred by the thought of safety and hygiene. The normal trains are normally overloaded and are also a residency to thieves. I was not going there. The second option was the taxi rank but It was about 30 to 45 minutes walk from where I was. How was I going to manage such a long walk on heels. That thought froze me as I knew that I was in a mess. Having to catwalk in the ever busy Johannesburg.
Nevertheless I had no choice so I ambled up the stairs, across the building and in no time I was in town. So as I looked around I was not sure which side of the station I was in. The only side I am familiar with is by KFC which I didn’t see anywhere. So in this other side I was not quite sure which path to take. I just moved forward using the passage that tens of people were using due to construction that was going on. After the passage I passed the hawkers lining on either sides. There was now a main street with some taxis parked. I decided to jump and continue forward. The fear of being lost and wasting time and energy slowly gripped me. I had to ask someone for the noord’s whereabouts. I looked closely and innocently for a trustworthy somebody as I also didn’t want to endanger my life and my bag. I also didn’t want anyone noticing that I was lost therefore an easy victim. So I walked along some lady and carefully asked for directions. She pointed me back to the street I have jumped. I needed to go back to it and turn right. That route was going to take me straight to the rank. I tiredly turned back and started walking up or down (as one never knows) Plein street. The journey was long and tiring as my shoes were killing me. I tried so much to walk normally but I could not. I walked with my knees bent sorrowfully. It was visible to everybody that the lady had a heel problem. People’s reactions were different, some were laughing, some sympathised and some offered to carry me up. I could now see the rank in a distance. I wished I could just take my shoes off but then again that would be too desperate. I also wished that I could buy cheap sandals from the street vendors but I didn’t have any money with me except the last R20.00 that would be my taxi fare. I stopped at some corner just to give myself a break. The whole experience was so dramatic and traumatic. As I arrived at the rank I joined the queue and then took my shoes off. I couldn’t take it anymore. The taxi arrived and I climbed up bare-footed, I didn’t care who says what. As I dropped off I walked up to my house with what my God gave me and with heels on my hands as you can see the picture.
That was the end of the Left Behind trauma. It turned out the train manager meant that the delay would occur after leaving JHB not before. I was left behind for nothing, I had failed to understand the message.
Till next time…