May 5, 2004

Anatomy of the daily commute- London

I remember the good old days – 1997 to be precise. Getting to work was easy. Hopped in the car, when I wanted to and within 20 or so minutes was safely at work. Door to door. 20 miles. Easy as sleazy.

Not so living in the big city. You have to run to someone else’s schedule. We call someone else the demon goddess of fate. And boy is she a bitch!

07:40: Plenty of time to make the 07:57, all going well!
07:54: WTF happened to the time. Rush for the door.
07:57: Can hear the train coming and don’t have a tickets. [lots of swearing]. Rush up the stairs. Queue too long at the ticket office. Rush down the stairs. Mutter under breath about slow people in the queue.
07:59: Get ticket. Machine actually accepts crinkly old tenner. Thank the goddess.
08:00: Rush up the stairs. See train disappear off around the bend. It’s ok, back up train is at 08:02
08:08: See the 08:02 coming. Start moving towards the font of the train. See lots of people doing the same. Revaluate. Move to back of train.
08:09: Squeeze on to carriage with 5 billion other people.
08:10: Slowly position body so that if any one gets up from their seat, I only have two girls and a druggie to beat to the seat.
08:12: Get to Clapham Junction. People get off. Dive for seat,
08:13: Glare at women who just got off and PUT HER NEWSPAPER in the bin between the seats. How dare she. Doesn’t she know people are bored. SHARE dammit.
08:14: Surrpitously fish paper out of bin when no one is looking. Enjoy paper all the way to waterloo. Use mp3 player set to XFM to drown out reality
08:22: Get to Waterloo. Make man check my ticket properly. I paid for it he is damn well going to check it.
08:23: Pick up metro to read on the way home. Take the second one from the top.
08:24: Star walking to the office. This coincides with the rain starting.
08:34: Arrive at office looking like a drowned rat. Get told I need to go to other office to get my laptop check. Some crap about a virus. I’m to decaffeinated to argue.
08:44: Arrive at random office. Get signed in after 5 minute pointless conversation
08:49: Stand in queue to have laptop checked. Dream of rabbits getting maimed. This is no fluffy bunny of a day.
08:59: Laptop is checked. All ok. Surprise I know what I am doing. Sign piece of paper that says if the network goes down it’s my fault and they can legally shoot me.
09:00: Head back to the office. Stand in two separate puddles. Get rained on more. At least my hair is not sticking up like it was this morning.
09:10: Get too office.
09:11: Boot up laptop
09:15: Start fixing my email which is broken because of me or virus. Unknown
10:00: Start working
23:30: Stop working. Walk to station. Crank the Mp3 loud to stop the thinking. Prodigy Voodoo People does the trick. Not raining. Shock horror.
23:38: Buy monthly travel card. That’s 990 Rand. That’s more than the cost of 100 beers. Still at least I have an extra 6 minutes tomorrow in not standing in queue.
23:42: Get on train take out this mornings paper. Read the bit that’s not ruined by the rain.
00:02: Get off train. Star dancing on the way home in the street. Almost break laptop as bag not zipped shut from when morning’s paper removed. Stop dancing.
00:09: Get home.

People shooting at you? Peace of cake. Try getting on a crowded train for real commuter rage.


6 thoughts on “Anatomy of the daily commute- London

  1. OK that sounds rough. I’ve never been on the tube at work time, but as someone who is used to lots of space I found the sardine tin method of travelling a bit unnerving. But at least you dont get shot for aggrevating someone on the tube (you probably just get ignored). Ok, so what does “star dancing” mean – do you get dressed up like Ziggy Stardust or something?

  2. I’m looking forward to my new office, where the commute will be:
    7.55am – kiss wife goodbye
    7.56am – turn over and go back to sleep
    8.59am – sit up, reach out of bed, switch on laptop and hook up to wireless network.
    9.00am – feel smug.

  3. Graybo’s commute is a bit like mine:
    7.55am – Kiss wife goodbye.
    7.56am – Realise with not inconsiderable alarm that I appear to be married, and wonder how that happened.
    7.57am – Leave house, screaming.
    7.58am – Realise I’m not yet dressed.
    7.59am – Run back into house, being chased by other people screaming.
    8.00am – Realise that ‘wife’ was in fact an hallucination.
    8.10am – Leave house again, making sure I’m fully clothed.
    8.20am – Dodge charity collector with menaces at Ealing Broadway station: ‘Please help the disabled, help the disabled please.;
    8.21am – Step onto tube train.
    8.22am – Wonder why I live in this area as I’m confronted by a carriage full of people I dislike, who will insist on engaging me in small talk during the entire journey.
    8.28am – Having passed through West Acton, North Acton and East Acton, wonder for the 500th time in the last six years why they’ve never considered shorting their names to Wacton, Nacton and Eacton. Much simpler.
    8.29am – Pass Wormwood Scrubs on train. Think, “Oh, come on, it doesn’t look so bad.”
    8.30am – Arrive at White City. Momentarily lose will to live.

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