The amateur commuter

In London on June 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm

So this week I’ve been doing a bit of commuting. Believe it or not commuting can be fun! For us homeworkers its an adventure, a chance to get out into the big wide world, a break in our routine (once we’ve tied up all the loose ends that hold our routine together, such as finding random people to look after the children at the last-minute, and having clean, socially acceptable clothes). It’s a chance for some amateur anthropology, a bit of gawping at crowd behaviour, regarding ourselves not as one of the crowd but as the wry observer, slightly removed from the scene. More importantly, we won’t have to see these people again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

Among the things that give me pleasure on these occasional commutes are: not having to be at your desk straight after dropping kids at school; hour of legitimate time wasting (Twitter, free newspaper, Boggle app, staring out of the window) to relieve the tedium of public transport; chance to catch up on catch up on Cheryl Cole’s life as if you were the sort of person who cared; not wearing jeans for a change; listening to an audiobook* and hoping people think you’re listening to something cool; the view from the top of the bus; getting slightly excited by the speed of the train, just because its faster than a 176 in heavy traffic on the Walworth Road; going on the Tube; art on the tube, such as the posters at Piccadilly Circus; big billboard posters that keep you abreast of the latest films as if you might actually go and see one (you won’t); shops – proper shops, useful selling cheap basics, the sort of shops you would never let anywhere near your artisanal-bakery lined local high street; remembering that you actually live in London**.

You can spot us amateur commuters quite easily. We still have that look of awe at seeing so many people. We still look surprised at the pushing and shoving. We still carry with us a sense of politeness and compassion for our fellow travellers that hasn’t been ground down by years of being crushed in a sweaty carriage on the Northern line, or waiting our lives away for the delayed 8.09 to London Bridge. We’ll cheerfully let a couple of Tubes go by until an emptier, pleasanter, one comes along. We might offer you our seats. We will probably even smile at you. We might even say hello.

* now playing: One Day by David Nicholls. Next up: Hay Fever starring Peggy Ashcroft, or a Charles Paris Mystery.

** not directly applicable to people who live in other cites, but a bit the same.

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