Friday, April 27, 2007

A Couple of Commuters

The Wife was on a course in London this week, which meant that I had the rare pleasure of her company on the train. It was, as it always is, a strange experience. A delightful one to be sure, but as somebody accustomed to the essentially selfish ways of the lone commuter, which sometimes verge on solipsism, it is profoundly unsettling to find that number one is not the only number that counts, and in fact, number two, in terms of priority, counts double.

Things began to get weird on Monday morning, when we had to leave the house early to ensure that we could get there in time to buy a ticket and catch the train without resorting to my usual power walking. We even took a different route - the "scenic" way - which might actually be quicker but its never been proven and I am a creature of habit (just ask any of my colleagues who try for a mid-afternoon cup of tea before 4pm). It was pleasnt enough - no denying that it does make for a nicer walk, and not having to dodge traffic made a nice change. Then when we reached the station, we marched down to my normal position near the end of the platform and discovered to my consternation that our relative tardiness (I like to get there with five minutes to spare) meant that all of my daily rivals had got there first, and we couldn't get near the yellow line, let alone in front of it. Fortunately I know a few tricks of the trade and we managed to secure a position just outside the gent's toilets which I knew would be precisly in front of the doors when the train stopped, giving us a chance to effectively queue-jump (not a habit I approve of, but needs must).

When the train pulled in and the doors opened, I had to fight my ingrained instinct to forge ahead, elbows at the ready and wearing an impassive yet steely visage, and devote my energies to ensuring that She got on in time to get a seat. This I achieved, but only at the cost of not being able to sit down myself. I had to stand for the entire jourrney, whilst many of my everyday acquaintances preened themselves in the very seats that I might have occupied had I been more ruthless.

Travelling home together was far less stressful - twice She came to meet me in Soho and we went for something to eat (once to my old haunt at Pierre Victoire), and on the other night she went home earlier than me, and come Thursday when the course was over I felt quite lonely. By Thursday night, however, I was back in the groove, tapping furiously away at my laptop, glaring meaningfully at the overly-loud MP3 brigade, and doing a passable Road Runner impression between the station and home. So what does this teach us? Well, Man (at least this one) is an adaptable species, able to adjust comfortably to a changed environment and tailor his behaviour accordingly. And I would like to see more of The Wife.


At 11:46 AM GMT+1 , Blogger Rish said...

JD - something seems to be different around here!

Anyway, I moved house so that I could spend less time on the road and more with the missus (not married yet, but might as well be!). Things are much better that way - what is the point in choosing to spend the rest of your life with someone if you don't actually get to spend any time with them?

At 8:57 AM GMT+1 , Blogger JD said...

Hi Rish! What do you think of my new look? As ever, I'm just copying - noticed that you (and every other blogger) had started posting pictures and thought it would help bring the whole thing to life for people who don't use the London transport network.

Sadly, it's a bit more complicated than simply upping sticks and moving house- we only bought this place last year and we love it! Plus, The Wife works locally so it is super-convenient for her.

Thing is, though I may (occasionally) moan about how long it takes, if I didn't commute, I'd never read, and of course the world would have to do without my blog, so what choice do I have?

Still, I am glad your life had become easier. I know you found it all a bit of a pain.


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