Monday, 14 November 2011

Trainspotting

I was in London the other day. For work. I know, right? Imagine having to actually get up at a specified time and get on a train? It was like a foreign country. Like an out of body experience. And, as is usual when I go to London, I was overcome by the futility of living.

I mean, really. What's the point? Well, to be more specific, what's the point of living if one is commuting. Using the British transport system. I honestly think if I had to do it every day I would swiftly be having a Falling Down moment and going postal.

I was briefly distracted by the fact that the new trains to London had nice seats, were clean and they had FREE WIFI. Un-fucking-believable. It's the future, man. I couldn't work out why more people weren't excited by this fact. And then I realised it was 6am and no one wanted to face the reality of the existence they had created for themselves at that moment.

But, I noticed on one of my trips to the toilet (bladder the size of a walnut, I swear. One coffee and it's game over), everyone was taking advantage of it to do really important shit on their ipads - Facebook and films. Oh, and one Angry Birds. Thank fuck for distractions from the despair and pointlessness of the everyday, eh?

But the train was fine. On the whole. It got light, it was quite pretty outside. But then came the tube. I am in awe of Londoners and their ability to use this crowded, hot, filthy, disgusting form of transport on a day to day basis. Like it's a normal thing to do. To stand on a grimy platform, breathing in hot air, giving total strangers stink eye even if they blatantly got to the prime spot first. Standing just on the yellow line in some kind of tiny act of almost rebellion. Only to watch train after train roll up with people pressed to the windows like lambs to the slaughter, no one to get out, and roll onwards having absorbed about five from the gathering throng on the platform.

Four trains went by until I could squeeze on. With my face wedged underneath some guy's armpit and being too short to reach the grab handle on the ceiling, I looked at all the other dead eyed people, trying to act like they're not completely invading someone else's space. As I was trying not to inhale and wondering just how long I could hold my breath - could I make it to Oxford Street without having to breathe in? It seemed like a feasible option given the alternative - a fat, sweaty guy barged on. There was no room. None. But he made room for his bulk with just the strength of his halitosis and lack of shame. What a bastard.

Except he's not a bastard, this unfortunate everyman who became the focus for my ire. He's just some schmuck trying to get to his crappy job, just like everyone else. Except me. My job's cool. Obviously.

People do this EVERY DAY. Over the years my I have manouvered my working life to ensure that every subsequent job role is a bit nearer to my house. My last proper job at a games developer was a whole 20 seconds away. And now, I often work from my bed. And if not my actual bed, I work from under a duvet. Winning. As Sir Sheen would say.

But other people choose to do that journey. Every. Single. Day. Just to get to a job they probably don't even like, with people they secretly wish would cease to exist overnight. Oh, I know some people love their jobs. I've read about them. But let's face it, they're definitely in the minority.

After my work was done, I decided to beat the tube by getting a black cab. Holborn to Marylebone. Easy. 10 minutes said the driver. 50 minutes later I trailed into the station just behind my colleague who had got the fucking tube.

Fuck you London. You suck.

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