Monday, January 28, 2008

So this is how sardines feel . . .

Where did all these people come from? I'm certain London has got busier whilst I've been away. Maybe a lot more people have moved to the Beautiful Market Town where I live in the past month, and they are commuting into London at the same time as me. More likely, though, it's just that I've adjusted my travel times slightly with the arrival of The Little Commuter, and as a consequence am coming home just when the rush hour hits its peak.

I've started travelling earlier, you see. Not just coming home earlier, but going in earlier too. He's been waking us up between five and six, so it makes sense to bring everything forward in proportion. Now, this actually means that I spend longer in the office, because London gets so congested after about quarter past eight in the morning that everything takes twice as long. By arriving in town before eight, even though it is still busy, the buses run fast, trhe pavements are less densely packed and everything moves twice as quickly, effectively meaning that for every minutes you save at one end of the journey, you save two at the other. So I've been getting into work well before anyone else, allowing me time to get settled and have a nice cup of tea before the hordes arrive.

This also means I leave on time every day. Not early, but less late than I have been doing for the last year or so. All very nice because I get more of an evening with the family, but sadly it does mean hitting the absolute peak of the evening rush hour. Getting a seat on the train has become nothing more than an abstract concept, or at least, something that happens to other people.

This evening was especially extreme. It was full when I got on, but then people just kept on getting on behind me. Of course they were all abnormally tall, so I got the full in-yer-face armpit treatment, as well as getting breathed and sneezed on. It was crammed at Kings Cross, but it just got silly at Finsbury Park. I had managed to get the tabloid section of my newspaper into a usable shape (revealing a hitherto unsuspected gift for origami) but then two more Goliath-figures got on at Finsbury and we all shuffled closer together to make an inch or two of room for them. The two of them hemmed me in, one to my left, the other in front. One of them shoved his arm past my head to lean against the partition, meaning that I had to bend my back at a funny angle because I couldn't move my feet. Then the other one pulled out a newspaper and casually started to read it! I had long since given up on reading my own, but this touched a nerve - hemmed into a space not big enough to stand up straight in with one big guy's arm shoved in my face and the other one casually perusing a newspaper above my head. Defiantly, I hefted my own paper once more, found I was completely unable to fold it, and re-read an article I'd already looked at. I felt I had made a point.


At 12:36 PM GMT , Blogger DJ Kirkby said...

I'm laughing...probably shound't laugh at your misery but it's the way you tell the story!


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