“Could train operator Jay Dawkey please come to the desk before next pick up?” The tannoy in the depot clicks off as I think about getting up. “If you are lucky you’ll be cancelled”. “I bet it isn’t, I bet it is your train is sitting in the depot or on the sidings, and if it is cancelled then why is it always your first half and not your second?”
L, the manager, tells me: “Your train is probably cancelled”. “Probably? Or is it cancelled?” I ask. “Well it isn’t running, so unless it appears soon we’ll just keep you as a spare”.
I head back via my locker as I now have five hours, maybe with no job to do. Luckily I have got a book and a phone charger. I take 20 minutes to go over some of the rule books and line information supplement, best to be prepared I think. Another spare, U, comes in, “Well, I have been given a full duty, you jammy git”. “Well, I bet my second half won’t be cancelled, so I have still got to stick it out till then”.
N walks in and sneezes into his handkerchief. “It’s a cold, it’s a cold, don’t worry. I have done tests”.
“Well, you can stay in your corner either way”, P pipes up. The mess room is still divided up with caution tape on the floor into apparent 2m squares around each table. People have paid less and
less attention to it as the months have dragged on. Omicron might be changing that.
N: “I had no colds for 2020 and this year I feel like it is one a month, fucking pain”
P: “You’ve got no chance of avoiding them now people are out and about”. I say: “Something a little bit reassuring about a cold. Perhaps things will start going back to normal”.
P asks N: “When are you getting your booster?
N: “I have it booked in for a week or so now, I think”.
P: “You know O has still just had his first? He says someone he knows has had all sorts of problems since having the first, so he doesn’t want to risk it”.
N: “But if you have had one why not get the rest? I can see the people who don’t want any. Their choice I suppose but if you had one, you might as well get others”.
O: “Well, when will it end. How many jabs are you going to need before it’s over? Are we going to have to go every six months?. How many recovery days can we get each time if we do? That might influence my decision”, he laughs.