08 March, 2006

Commute witness

Travelling to and from work via the London Underground is going to take me a lot of getting used to. I've only being doing it since the start of the week, but I'm already reeling from the enervating experience of bookending every day with long listless journeys largely in complete darkness surrounded by strangers so close they're almost breathing in your face.

There's been a stroppy obnoxious art student who refused to move her baggage off the seat next to her to make way for someone else. There's been someone dressed like Tom Baker replete with curly-haired mop and long multi-coloured scarf. There have been several people who have thrown themselves into the carriage, desperate to get on board even if it means holding up the entire train while someone sorts out why the doors won't shut properly. I have seen numerous people with their noses deep in holy books of one faith or another. I have seen many more engrossed in copies of the Metro, the free newspaper that litters the Underground in all senses of the word. There are people sporting dinner suits, others in boiler suits. There are too too many passengers with their iPods at such a deafening pitch that you can hear every note of what they're listening to (oh for a resurgance of personal stereos, which were, by and large, personal).

And everyone, absolutely everyone, says nothing to anybody else. Including me. I'm just another mute witness.

It's not nice. I imagined using the Underground every day would be stimulating, even thrilling. At the moment I feel like it's just holding me up rather than allowing me to get anywhere. As happened earlier when I was trying to get through Leicester Square only to get caught up in the premiere of V For Vendetta. Heaven only knows what it was about.


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