The Joys of Living in London – Commuting: pt1

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William James Downing

Two weeks ago I skipped to my local train-station; weekly travel pass on my Oyster card in my right-hand and a free daily newspaper in my left. Tra-la-la, how exciting, a new job, new opportunities, new mates, new lifestyle – who cares that it is grey and cold. “This could be the sta-a-art, of something new. It feels so right to be here- oh, what the fuck?!”

Commuting into the City of London at eight in the morning is already a ball-ache, nevermind the trains where you are packed tighter than osmium up Theresa May’s arse. But packed they are, every morning. Every morning, when you are already short-tempered by the fraction of sleep you have managed to catch last night. There are people who will shout at the general populace of the carriage to “move down, please”, even when you are sandwiched enough between the female secretary in front and old man behind you that the old man’s vasectomised nether regions still get the secretary pregnant.  There are people, even in the cold winter, who sweat a weather-system onto you that would decimate the South Pacific islands – failing that, they will breathe their hallitosis and communicable disease into your nostrils.

An incident on my first day, when I saw a 5’8″ man somehow tower over a 6’0″ woman (both standing) and shout this: “Excuse me, yes, excuse me. You’re pregnant aren’t you? Shouldn’t you be on maternity leave? It’s taking up space.” Indeed, she did appear to be up the duff.

Another day, this time on the way home, where a woman got so angry with the command “Move down the carriage” that she pretended to pick up a stranger and put them on the bag shelf. A stranger! Awkward all round.

Monday Morning: A Train pulling into Barnes Station

At first I was trying to get myself into a place on the train where I could hold onto something, but this created an irrational paranoia of DVT, so I desisted. At the moment I prefer riding the train, like a skate-boarder; feet at right angles to each other and knees slightly bent. It means that my hands are free to hold a book open and occasionally change my music. The other change was, originally, I tried to stand by the doors but (and this is my best tip) it is much better, you get more space and less interference from the populace if you stand down the aisle: Also closer to the seating when someone vacates – always interesting when the only reason they got up was to get something out their bag or pocket and you have slipped in underneath them. Wonderful.

My favourite part of this, the tenth circle of hell; the part that I get solace and a degree of joy from, is being a pedestrian built by an F1 team. Through the station, I walking up fast behind someone and picking the perfect moment to overtake, even going into playstation mode and taking a naughty short-cut that you are surprised more people dont know about or even going ‘off road’ by stepping off the kerb momentarily.

Oh, and the tube will not be running properly, ever, and a third of the time it will not be working at all. Thank-you London Underground employees! A broken wrist-watch  works at least twice a day.

 

 

Commuting, Commuting in London, London Underground, London Travel, Transport for London, TFL,
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