Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Oyster Card Reject (Lat. Oysterus Cardus Rejecticus)

Several categories of social leprosy exist in London. Perhaps one of the most maligned species in the capital is 'The Oyster Card Reject'.

The Oyster card, for the uninitiated, is a blue credit card sized piece of plastic that creates the facade of enabling you to cruise the underground network at your leisure but does so by blinding you to how much it's really costing you.

At the entrance and exit to every tube station there are electronic points where you're invited to merely tap your Oyster card to open the barriers that allow you to enter or leave the station.

During off-peak hours this is nothing more than a banality permitting you to proceed with your journey. During peak hours however, this seemingly simple task takes on Biblical dimensions as hordes of sociopathic commuters desperate to craw back milliseconds of lost time wait impatiently in nightmarish queues to be granted access into yet lower levels of the Underground inferno.

Woe betide the unsuspecting passenger whose Oyster card is rejected and thereby becomes the human equivalent of a finger holding the Hoover dam at bay. The individual is immediately rendered incoherent, paralysed with fear by the baying of the now increasingly late bloodthirsty crowd.

The poor soul, drenched in their own secretions, is eventually rescued by an Underground employee and the commute continues.

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