I’m currently on a commuters’ train, and even though I only have to take this train every Tuesday and Thursday, I still hate it. I mean, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a stranger standing right in your me-zone.
The driver announces over the PA system “please move right down inside the train. We are ready to depart” and all you think is where the f*ck can I move? But just as soon as you utter that thought you feel yourself passive aggressively shoved down inside the train past what feels like a million people. And next thing you know you’re standing right by the train toilet – the troilet. You try to do something so you’re not just wasting a journey’s time – I’m blogging because I forgot my book – but somehow, with the warm feeling of another person’s breath on your neck, you just feel awkward.
Before my brother quit his job last month, we made the morning commute together. One morning when we were on the London Underground, I turned to my brother and said “Look at all these people. They all look so miserable. It’s like they’ve had the worst day of their lives and it’s only” I looked at my watch “ten past eight!”. At which point my brother sighed, lowered his head slightly and said “I beg that you stop, or speak in Chinese.” Of course, me being me, I had no intention of doing either. To be fair, I was laughing while I made my obsevations, so it wasn’t like I was being entirely serious. Although my laugh was the kind of laugh you make when you know your life’s going down the sh*t but there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do and so in utter despair and slight amusement, you give up. Yeah, that kind of laugh. To my surprise, some people on the tube did seem to chuckle to themselves at the sight of my hysteria, which was nice, or at least better than facing two tube carriages (we happened to be standing in one of those intersection parts of the tube) full of miserable looking people.
So here I am again, standing right next to the troilet, just another a miserable looking commuter.
All that being said though, as my train pulls into Blackfriars, I look out to see the Thames adorned by iconic London buildings, and I feel my misery seep away. I feel appreciation.
It turns out that London and I have a love/hate relationship.