Recently the New South Wales Government announced it was going to trial ‘marshals’ to guard the early morning train doors at platform three of Town Hall Station in Sydney. You can see the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage of the story here.
Unfortunately this is one of the platforms I use as I head to work on those rare mornings I do. As someone who would never run to jump on a train just as its dodgy doors are about to close (why bother, there’s always another train), I feel quite offended that a ‘sheriff’, sans cool star-shaped badge, will now be watching over me and 50,000 of my closest commuters.
Interestingly, these marshals will be ‘trained’.
What does this mean? How many months of training will they have? Will they be trained to form a human barrier to stop you getting on the train too close to departure time? Will they have one of those poles with a wire lasso on the end to catch those errant people who try to board as the train is attempting to move away? Will they be able to tackle you, preferably between the shoulders and knee, if you attempt to board a train? Will they have a taser to stop you from over-stepping the mark (if this is the case then I want them to have years or decades of training)?
Are these further steps in building a nanny state? Maybe it’s what we need. The Government could just give us all nannies to help live better. Imagine a Mary Poppins like helper there for you all the time, reminding you to do things nicely and correctly.
There are people who travel along my street, particularly at three in the morning, who could do with a person sitting by their side, fully seat belted of course, suggesting they could drive a little, or even a fair bit, slower. And they could remind them they should get someone to take a look at the exhaust pipe.
Maybe all dog owners could have a nanny with them when they take their pooch for a walk. The nanny could carry the little plastic bags needed when ‘Rover’ stops to do his business.
Wouldn’t it be great to have nannies holding fans for us or providing individual oxygen tents as we make our way from the arrivals hall to the taxi rank at the airport. Or better still we could have nannies for each of the smokers who stand by the door desperate for the post-plane puff. However, these nannies would need to be supplied with respirators or other breathing apparatus so the secondary smoking wouldn’t be an occupational hazard.
We could have nannies with us when we use public toilets to make sure we keep the seat clean, use the right amount of toilet paper (how this is judged I have no idea), flush properly (the full-half flush conundrum would be solved), make sure we don’t put inappropriate things into the bowl and put paper towels in the rubbish bins. We could even have nannies there to make sure we wash our hands. Ideally they would also open the bathroom door for us so we don’t risk cross contamination from someone whose nanny fell asleep and wasn’t reminded to wash their hands (it’s bound to happen, these nannies are going to be busy people).
For me though, the perfect nanny would be the one who reminds you people on platform four at Town Hall station at around 5.30pm on a weekday afternoon who stand at the yellow line even though your train is third in line to arrive, to step back. You see, for us others who actually want to board the next train, you’re in our way. And at the moment there isn’t a nanny to bore a path for me through your masses. Thus I am forced, sans nanny, to walk the fine edge of the platform and hope to make it inside the train before the dodgy doors close on me.
Maybe we need these marshals after all. I wonder if Mary Poppins is free to lead the training?