Something odd happened yesterday which I think I ought to note here. I use the Emirates Airline quite a bit. Public transport nut that I’m fast turning into, it’s one of my favourite modes of London public transport. Yesterday I wanted to go and explore the area around Millennium Mills, which had been in the news the day before because it is due to be renovated. It’s on the other side of the river from me, so I decided that the best way to get there was via the cable car – something I’ve done plenty of times before. However, rolling up to the gate, I was stopped by the lady there, who asked me if I had anyone with me. Before I could explain that I didn’t need a carer with me and was perfectly fine on my own, she started to talk to her colleague about me as if I wasn’t there.
This immediately annoyed me. It happens quite a bit, but nonetheless it strikes me as highly patronising. I have a Master’s degree, for zark’s sake; yet they treat me like I’m five.
I tried to roll towards the lift hoping to make my intentions clear, but they still wouldn’t let me on. They kept telling me that I needed someone with me. Becoming more and more pissed off, I tried to ask to talk to the manager – I wanted these patronising bitches fired! Yet they still wouldn’t listen.
I think they could see I was getting angry though. Eventually a man who I assume was the manager came out. He explained that, due to a change in regulations, I now needed someone who could speak clearly into the communication system with me, in case there was an emergency. This, of course, struck me as utterly stupid: if the cable car broke down, I would be just as stuck as anyone, 300 metres above the Thames. Yet the rules were now the rules, he insisted, and offered to accompany me himself.
At this I gave in, not wanting to cause too much of a scene. I use public transport alone all the time; that I would suddenly need someone with me just to ride the cable car is utterly inane. Yet I wanted to press on with the day, and I was soon in a cable car carriage crossing the Thames, accompanied by a short bald guy I had never met before.