I had my college interview today. My Dad wasn’t available to take me, so I basically spent this morning having an extended panic attack until I realised that I actually knew where the college was, and how to get to it.
(I’d staggered past the bottom of the street in 2004 or 2005, in heels, in the middle of the night, after leaving a gay bar called Polo, with my then-flatmates.)
Easy peasy. Bus into town, said hello to Mum in work, into the train station to find the train JUST PULLING AWAY as I ran down the ramp towards it, and had to wait 14 minutes for another one.
Getting into Glasgow’s no problem, though. ScotRail’s usually good about being on time, unlike their Lanarkshire bus service. (Every 10 minutes my ass.)
Luckily, I was heading in at about 11am, well after the morning rush, so I didn’t have to stand up or fight for a seat. I found my way to the college easily, and astounded myself with how much I can remember from randomly and drunkenly stumbling around George Square while I was in college 8 years ago.
I was early. Like, 35 minutes early. And there were people there before me. Me and what looked like twenty-four 17-year-olds. Jesus. A few of the boys turned up in full interview-worthy suits. While we were sitting waiting, a girl walked out of the elevator in a red coat that came to mid-thigh, a pair of black high heels… and apparently nothing else. Or that’s what it looked like, anyway. There were a couple of people from an interview that had happened earlier this morning who were waiting to pick up their portfolios, and one of the guys looked like a male equivalent of me. I’m not kidding: if I had been born a boy (funny story: my parents were convinced I was going to be a boy. I was going to be called Scott.), that was what I would have looked like. He had most of the same piercings, and he even had a slick of turquoise in the front of his hair like mine.
The interview wasn’t an interview. It was a presentation of, “This is what the course is,” which was awesome, because we got to see some of the previous students’ work, and the standard of work was amazing. I can only hope to be that good. We got to ask questions (only one or two of us did; I, of course, was one of them) and the one that I remembered to ask was:
How many places are there?
There are 66 places available in first year. 44 in second year.
I said, simply: “And may the odds be ever in your favour.”
I’m really upset, actually, that no-one laughed. Maybe they didn’t get the reference.
We had to leave our portfolios with the tutors then, and go and wander about Glasgow until 3.30pm. I went to Subway and fed myself. Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt. Remind me never to do that again, because Subway’s ranch sauce does not taste like any decent ranch I’ve ever tasted in my life.
I went down to the toilets and found this:
Then I went back out onto George Square and started taking photos.
The best thing was this guy who was feeding the pigeons. The pigeons were actually landing on him. I asked if I could take his picture when a pigeon landed on him, and he said, yes, that’s fine.
Sat in George Square for fifteen minutes to have a drink and take a selfie, of course, before heading back to the college.
The tutors didn’t have any questions to ask, so I just picked up my stuff – with a completely straight face, and since none of you have ever seen my sketchbook, you won’t understand why a poker face was required, considering what the tutors had just seen. Some of it’s kind of… naughty. – and headed back to the station via Starbucks and a venti iced caramel macchiato.
Everything was fine until we got to Rutherglen station, about 10 minutes into the 20 minute journey home. (The train goes further than 20 minutes, but it’s roughly 20-ish minutes for me from Glasgow-Hamilton.)
We got to Rutherglen, the passengers got off/on. The train turned off. No problem; they do that sometimes.
Fifteen minutes passed, and we’re still sitting at Rutherglen station. The driver comes on the intercom to announce that there’s been a fire brigade working on the line ahead, and the power’s been cut. He doesn’t know how long it’s going to be until it’s back on.
Another fifteen minutes. The driver comes out and says that the trains have basically been cancelled because there were “sparks and flames” coming from the overhead lines, and there are no electric trains running on that line. We’re the lead train; the first one to be stopped.
People get off the train to get taxis or buses. I’ve never been in Rutherglen in my life. I only pass through it on the train. I have no idea how to get home from there. There’s talk from the driver and staff about putting on a bus for the stranded passengers.
The driver tells us to go into the booking office and wait for further instructions.
At 17:30-ish, the train leaves without us. To “test the line”. If it’s safe, the train behind us will come along, and we’ll get it to go home.
No train comes.
At 18:10, the booking office lady comes out and tells us that the train’s not coming, but if we head out of the train station and onto the main road, we can get the 267 bus and it’ll take us into Hamilton. (I know the 267; it passes outside the front of my estate. PERFECT.)
I’ve been talking to a lady since we were waiting on the train; we both head out, and another lady asks us if we’ve had our tickets refunded. No, we say. Are they refunding tickets? They didn’t tell us that.
So we get our tickets refunded and head out to catch the bus. Of course, when the 267 arrives, it’s jam-packed with everyone else from the other trains, and I can’t get on, because I’ve been on my feet all day and my back is aching and I’m actually trembling from the exertion.
I sit down while the Rutherglen Stranded Ones get on the 267 bus, and two ladies come and stand next to me. I talk to them while we wait for the next 267, which is also jam-packed, but at least there’s space to stand. I get a seat pretty quickly, but the guy sitting next to me smells like cat pee, and gives me a look like I don’t deserve to be alive.
He moves aside to let me sit on the inside, and then proceeds to play musical chairs with the entire front of the bus for about 15 minutes. A lovely old gentleman sits down next to me, and he was supposed to be getting a train, too. We get talking, and it turns out he worked down in my hometown when he was a boy. I almost miss my stop because I’m A) too confused by everything and don’t recognise most of where we are and B) am listening too closely to his stories of his time as a gas installer when they were switching to natural gas.
I got home at 18:59. My train from Glasgow Central left at 15:58. It was supposed to be a 20-ish minute train journey.
The only good thing was I didn’t have a panic attack (thank you, breathing techniques), and I got to talk to a few interesting people today.
Now I’ve just written the longest blog post I think I’ve ever written, and it has nothing to do with weight loss, except for the fact that I think I’ve walked about a zillion miles in dribs and drabs today, or at least it feels that way to my feet.
And I’m bloody glad to be home.
All I can say is I’m glad it didn’t happen on the way into Glasgow. I’d have missed my interview. And at least now I know how to get home from Rutherglen if I ever get stranded up that way again!