I do a lot of commuting, as do many Londoners. From 6.30 to 7.30 most mornings, which I’m now hoping to move a half hour earlier (prayers, good thoughts appreciated, ha!), and them an hour or so back each evening. Ten hours a week, every work week. Usually tube all the way, but sometimes by bus, foot and train. East to north-west, and back again.
My commute is, thank heavens, very straightforward. Living moments from a central line stop and with school a stones throw from a jubilee stop, I’m very lucky – there are so many people I know who have three, four, or more changes! I’m also lucky in that the journey is 75% done on one line, and because I get on at the origin point I always get a seat. So my commute is not too bad at all. It’s a time to read, listen to my iPod, think, play blackjack on my phone (Matthew has me in serious Vegas training!). And today it occurred to me that it’s probably a great time to blog too – at a point where I can’t do so many other things (tube too wobbly for marking, no Internet for work emails or research, housework miles away, friends all working/relaxing/doing their own commutes). So it’s the perfect time to write a quick blog post in my email drafts.
I love the cross section of humanity you see on the tube. Groomed business types. Cute toddlers who befriend the whole carriage. DOGS! That utter twit who sits in the priority seat (for the non-London folk, the priority seats are at each end of a row of seats and are designed for those who need a seat – old folks, those with canes/crutches, pregnant ladies) and staunchly avoids eye contact with the clearly heavily pregnant lady wearing one of the TfL’s ‘baby on board’ pin badges. Actually, it’s generally good value – either the entire carriage will glare at him till he does the right thing, or someone else will give up their seat and then we all get to tut / give side eye / sigh about manners together. Londoners are famed for being a little stand offish and terse on the tube, so this brief moment of community, of oneness, is quite lovely, in its own odd way.
You get awesome snippets of conversation on the tube too, whether you are trying to listen or not. Some recent snippets, dear reader:
“I really hate her but I’m going to the wedding because she’s going to be hilarious.”
“What is a bunion? Is it something you want?”
“Why do girls try to make you feel guilty for revising?”
“You know that guy who’s in Pirates of the Carribean? The singer? Johnny Cash.”
Yes, safe to say I enjoy my little commute. Right now it’s the middle of the day, and still the crowd is lively. And the tube, it turns out, is a very handy place to blog. As I wrap this up I have but a couple of stops left, ready to emerge from the subterranean gloom up into the freshness of a spring afternoon.
More soon, friends.