As described on air earlier this week, since I was 14 I have had the same most embarrassing moment. However, it was well and truly slam dunked on Tuesday night in a London Tube station….
My husband and I had arranged to meet for dinner in central London after work. A lovely friend had given us a "free 3 hours babysitting" voucher she made for our Christmas pressie (great gift idea!!) and we finally were getting around to cashing it in! So, I went into the Tube station, bought my ticket and went to the ticket barrier / turnstyle / flappy western bar-style thing where you put your ticket in and the barriers open and you pass through – you know the type I mean?!
Well, it was the commuter time of day and so very busy in this packed station. The chap in front of me went through and I waited for the barriers to close, which they usually do quite briskly - but on this occasion, they stayed open.
Knowing that I had a queue building behind me, I quickly pondered the inevitable "shall I, shan't I?" I had paid for a ticket, so all was above board and clearly these barriers were jammed open but I was certain that if I was to step in their direction, they would slam closed. Anyway, a good 15 seconds went by (felt like 2 minutes!!) and they remained open, so I decided that there was obviously an issue and made my way forwards…
Of course, yes indeed, as expected, the barriers flew closed with much vigour, snatching my bag in the centre of their jaws and narrowly missing my arm as I jumped backwards, with pride slightly tickled!
Ok, so my gut feeling was right, never mind! I stretched backwards, whilst still holding my bag which was caught in the middle, to try to put my ticket through the slot – but couldn't quite reach. So, I decided that the barriers obviously had good hold of my bag, and let go of it, inserted my ticket and then quickly darted back to catch my bag as it fell to the floor when the barriers opened for me to pass through.
Sounds like a good plan?
Well, they opened and closed in the blink of an eye and as I stooped to catch my bag, the barriers flung shut – with my head stuck in between them now – an even better catch than my bag!!
Truly, this was not a fair occurence with many commuters and tourists, shoppers and residents all making their way through the various gates with me having some Monty Python-style fight with mine Anyway, I managed to force the barriers away from my head, backed out (still not through!!) and slightly embarrassed, but pride still intact, walked to the side and was let through another gate.
I thought I'd survived as I slightly chuckled to myself heading toward the platform – until I saw a crowd of what seemed to be Italian students laughing their socks off, acting out having their heads squashed between their hands and then letting go quickly as if they were a cuckoo clock, shouting "HALLO, HALLO"!!
Yes, the bar on my most embarressing moment had just been raised!!
Love Pipa x