Thursday, 21 August 2008

Going Nowhere

I'm in Newcastle station having just caught a train here from Northallerton. I'm on my way to collect a lorry from a BT depot near Gateshead and have less than ten minutes to get outside and locate the appropriate bus stop. However, I drunk a large cup of coffee on the train and am therefore also trying to cram a visit to the toilet into this timeframe.

I locate the toilets, and discover that they are closed. A printed notice on the door advises people to use the 'night toilet' instead. At the bottom of the notice a line of printed arrows points to the left. However above these a larger arrow drawn in pink marker pen points to the right. The sign is rendered even more confusing by the fact that the door is located in the side of an archway between two platforms, so none of the arrows points along the length of a platform, but instead they point across them towards the railway lines. There is no-one within hearing distance so I treat myself to a 'for fuck's sake!' and then opt for the platform indicated by the pink arrow. I walk to one end, unsure exactly what I'm looking for. I've never seen any door in any train station marked as a 'night toilet' before.

I still haven't.

There is nothing at that end of the platform and no staff to ask. I give up and make my way out of the station, where I catch the bus with less than five minutes to spare.

I sit looking out of the bus window as we cross the Tyne and head south wondering what, if anything, was going through the mind of the person who put the sign up, and feeling thankful that the road is not too bumpy.

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