The penny clanged when the scenery changed dramatically from what I'm used to on my usual train straight home, and it grimly dawned that I was on the final Peterborough service with no more going back the other way.
I get off at the next stop, Arlesey, a Bedfordshire village in the middle of nowhere, no nearby high street nor taxi rank, just fields and a few houses. Next train anywhere is 4.30am, nearest cab office miles away in wrong direction says Google - rang em anyway and was quoted £60 "at least" - and mrs funnily enough not answering at 1.30am, not that she'd've come to get me at that time anyway.
Close to contemplating hanging out til 4.30 I spot a man outside the station entrance, swaying on his feet, head bowed, pained expression - I knew instantly that he'd made the same fuck-up. As I switch off my phone to conserve the remaining battery he spots a public phonebox, staggers up to it, sticks in some coins then starts swearing loudly when it inevitably cuts him off and eats the last of his money. "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!".
After I tentatively approach to offer some help, he turns out to be a softly-spoken Scot once the bellowing subsides, dressed in a dapper summer suit and boater hat like he's just stepped out of the Henley Regatta. Turns out he's just returned from the Henley Regatta. And after the long rail mission back from Oxon to - then through - London, he passed out just before his Stevenage stop on the same last train from Kings Cross. His mobile dead, phonebox ate his last two quid, wife gonna kill him, has to be back at work in 6 hours - if only he could remember the number of his local cab firm he has a business account with.
Ten minutes later, following a fag and discussion of the Scottish referendum, he gives me his business card as the cabs arrive and I'm suddenly flying back to my doorstep in a luxury car driven full pelt by a Muslim man on his last call who needs to get home before his Ramadan fast begins. That drive felt like this:
Moral: always offer assistance to drunk Scots shouting at phoneboxes.
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