Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Expiry Date with Destiny

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Expiry Date with Destiny

Article excerpt

Byline: gary BAINBRIDGE One man's struggle with the 21st century Follow Gary on Twitter: @Gary_Bainbridge or email him at

SOME of you will remember that I gary BAINBRIDGE.

If you are one of those people, I strongly recommend that you get out more, or perhaps take up a hobby if you are housebound.

Previously, a nice person at the Post Office would stamp a new expiry date on my bus pass every month - if for example I was renewing it on October 29, the stamp would read November 29 - I would pay for the month's pass with my debit card, and off I would trot to board a bus.

Nowadays, I have to renew my smartcard season ticket at a newsagent which is considerably further away than the Post Office - "for my convenience" - and pay a 50p surcharge for using my debit card because otherwise newsagents would be bankrupted by students using their cards to buy single packets of Hula Hoops.

The card itself now only lasts for four weeks. The mathematicians among you will no doubt grasp this means that instead of me making that trip 12 times a year, I now have to do it 13 times. For my convenience.

And, crucially, the smartcard does not display the expiry date and time of my bus pass, meaning that I no longer have a reminder to hand to renew my season ticket.

So what that means is that none of what happened was my fault.

How is a man in his early forties and burdened with cares such as myself supposed to remember the date upon which he must renew his bus ticket? I mean, really!

I was waiting for my bus at the stop at which only a couple of weeks before I had been offered some hard drugs.

My bus was late. Or it had been very early. Timetables are mostly aspirational in my part of the world.

In any case, I could not see the timetable, because somebody was standing right in front of it and my powers of staring at somebody until they move are weak since I lost my other glasses.

It was the first time this autumn I had chosen to wear Medium Coat.

That morning had been the first "ooh, parky" morning since early spring, and, as evening descended, I was glad of the warmth. …

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