However antisocial it makes me seem, I am capable of tube rage. I hate the tube. I absolutely hate it. I strongly believe that we all cease to become human beings the moment we enter the station. It’s farewell to sanity, patience and good will. Armed for battle, we sink into these underground pits to fight our way to work. It really is a modern Darwinian saga of the survival of the fittest.
In my mind, I become Xena Warrior Princess; a fiercer, bustier, all-round femme fatale side of me emerges to help me inch my way into the smallest spaces and fend off the hardest rivals. “I will get into work before thee” becomes my mantra. My bag is my sacred weapon; it is both protective and preventative. Protective because it lets me charge through crowds and preventative because it prevents anyone getting any closer to me. The bigger the bag the better, really. It’s no wonder I am shattered and stressed out when I get home in the evening, all the more understandable seeing my Xena aura vanish and leave me to my weaker persona.
But on the tube I’m cool, with one set of rules for me and another for the others. How many times have you been on the tube and found yourself getting annoyed at the people who refuse to budge or move down the carriages to allow more people to board? Yet how many times have you also been that smug commuter with no intention or budging from the doorway? Do you not willingly endorse the hostile reception given to the brave passenger fighting his or her way onto the train regardless?
I hate it all. I hate the people who won’t let me read their papers and the people who read mine. I hate the people who won’t give up their seats for the pregnant or the old but then I hate the people that do, before me, obviously trying to make me look bad!
Of course some lines are worse than others. Travelling to work on the District Line is a breeze compared to the other subterranean routes. You are pretty much guaranteed a seat on these trains and if not you can occupy enough standing room to open a broadsheet paper in comfort and read it cover to cover. I am lucky if I have enough space to read my tube ticket on my Northern Line route, which is perhaps one of the grimmest.
There are some good things about the tube though, or at least some things which make the journey more bearable. The mice on the underground, for instance. You get quite a lot of entertainment from these little performers around the Leicester Square area and they can really brighten up a long wait for your vessel home.
Or the injection of a sarcastic comment from a tube driver booming into the loud speaker – “You guys really don’t listen do ya?” – does wonders for keeping the battlefield ambience strong. And anyway, is it my imagination or have the tube drivers become cockier?
But one of the funniest things has to be the travellers who come from the airport usually jetlagged and asleep, who take up about 4 seats with their entire luggage and then suddenly realise the implication of their actions as the regular commuters launch their attack. I think it’s funny because I know that when they try and lug it all off they will face great difficulty and that is sweet, poetic justice for me!!
And of course the addition of the Metro paper is a good one, a free paper with lots of good offers and clear, concise reading, but then you don’t have the satisfaction of taunting a fellow commuter with your copy because everyone has one.
I could rage on for a long time if you had the patience to keep on reading, but I think I can leave it just there. But just a couple of things, when are they going to have a Playstation game dedicated to the trials and traumas of the commuter? And more importantly can I be in it?