Well, today was Towel Day and I dutifully carried my towel. It’s a small, blue, egyptian cotton hand towel with nutrients in one corner and instructions for building a time machine on the label. Overall, I’d say it’s been a good towel over the three years I’ve owned it. Soft, fluffy yet curiously hardwearing. This is a picture of it taken as I went to work on a gloriously sunny day.
I have to say that station staff give you really odd looks when you are taking photographs next to the platform edge. You’d think they had never seen a towel before.
My towel has several functions other than its life-sustaining and instructional ones. In fact, it is the most massively useful thing a traindriver can have whether they be interstellar or metro. Here it is again, just about to be used as a curtain so that I don’t have to see all the annoying graffiti in the sheds. It can also be used as a cushion to counteract the uncomfortable seat and ease stresses and strains on the back. As you can see, it perfectly matches the tasteful colour-scheme of the cab.
This picture shows a typical moment in the tunnels. Note the red signal in the background. Here, I’m being held in the platform for a couple of minutes and my towel makes for a comfy pillow for a short nap. Apologies for the poor quality of the photo. What can I say, it’s dark down there.
The towel also has other practical uses. Should I have to leave the train and enter the tunnel I’m likely to get dirty. Sometimes a driver has to go into tunnels because they have not been paying attention or have had insufficient naps and have subsequently gone past a signal at danger. The driver then has to use one of the tunnel phones to call The Voices. Grovelling on your knees in a filthy tunnel isn’t the best way to stay clean and a towel is most welcome to help a dusty driver freshen up once they have clambered back on board. My towel typically resides on the opposite side of the cab.
That red handle behind it is the emergency brake. I have no idea why they decided to put it all the way on the other side rather than next to the driver. Either way, the brake is there for those moments when you realise you perhaps haven’t been concentrating as well as you might or are feeling a little sleepy due to not napping enough. The emergency brake procedure involves leaping out of your chair, sprinting across the cab, pulling the handle and then praying to the god of your choice that the train will stop on this side of the red signal. Otherwise you’re off to get dusty. Safe to say it can be quite a nerve-wracking moment and you wouldn’t want to be phoning The Voices with sweaty palms, so a good towel is a must.
Towels are also useful for fearful moments. Sometimes it’s good to have a towel to clutch or drape over one’s head. It’s a portable version of a blanket of fear. And let’s face it, there can be lots of fearful moments when driving a train. Of course there’s the general solitude which can make a nice huggy towel very comforting but there’s also the really scary stuff. There can be breakdowns, odd noises, zombie-looking passengers on the platform…FIRE! OMFG THERE’S A FIRE ON MY TRAIN!!!
Unfortunately at this point my journey was cut unexpectedly short and I wasn’t able to take any more towel pictures. On the plus side, my train didn’t stay on fire for long and because I swiftly chucked out all my passengers (we were in a station, don’t panic) and took it to the conveniently nearby depot I got to go home early too. All in all, a good Towel Day.