Musical Chairs: No light at the end of the tube

21 Mar

First of all, I’m sorry. Sort of. Not really. I didn’t want my first bonafide foray into the glamourous world of amateur blogging to be me whining about something. But something has been bugging me ever since I came to London. Like most of us I take the tube to and from my place of employment. I’ll take a moment now so you can pause, stare wistfully in to the middle distance and longingly remember the bliss that was your last tube ride. If you’ve never been to London, imagine if you will:

  • The warm smell of diesel fumes mixed with crotch sweat billowing on to the platform as a train approaches (TFL has managed to achieve this despite the trains being electric, the crotch sweat is less of a mystery)
  • Being crammed in to a square-foot space with 13 other people, and no possible way of removing your jacket without goosing someone
  • Sweating profusely (particularly from your crotch) because of the inability to remove said jacket
  • Being goosed by the man next to you who attempts and fails to solve the jacket removal/goosing conundrum
  • Ploughing  your way through the crowd to get off at your stop, only to switch lines and do it all again (though hopefully you’ve remembered to take your jacket off before getting on the next train.

I realise public transport goosing exploits are nothing new to anyone. So why write about it? Because I’m scared. I’m scared that long enough in this city (wonderful though it is) will turn me in to a rude, intolerant muse for some idiot to write a blog about. Despite my poor attempts at humour and bad dandruff, I’m usually a pretty nice person.

Something I saw the other day really pushed me over the edge. My instant flash of white-hot anger presented a few problems as I had to wait until I got off the train, then several more days before I decided to start a blog when I could vent this anger. I know we all like our personal space, and rarely will someone choose to sit next to a stranger when other seats are available with nobody next to them. Which brings us to the holy grail of tube seats…the end seat. The end seat is so sought after because it carries the potential to be sat next to by 50 per cent less human beings. Happily, once you are safely in the end seat, you only need to ignore the human on one side and concentrate on the plexi-glass pressed ham by a standing commuter on the other. And all you had to do was dispatch of a blind, disabled pensioner.

The main source of my anger came the other day when I saw someone move from a regular seat to the end seat. I should clarify that the seat they moved from had no one on either side. It was a preemptive move just in case the carriage suddenly filled with sweaty, groping commuters before she had a chance to bring out her can of mace. Why the need to ensure as little human contact as possible? As much as it sickens me, I see it as a gap in the market. If you can no longer stand the thought of accidentally striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know, or having their newspaper brush innocently against you faux denim jeggings and having to mutter niceties, inquire about the latest sensation in commuting.

Until next time, mind the gap. J

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