Hello Internet. Sorry for the (totally unintentional) hiatus. For most of last month I was spending each spare minute of the day job hunting and sleeping, and also officially moved churches at the start of June. I now have a new job lined up for the end of August (praise the Lord), which is much closer to home and church, and the end of my current job is in sight. So I’m back.
On Thursday there was a tube strike. You may or may not have known that. If you live in London, or anywhere near the capital, you would have known.
On an overcrowded Overground service at five o’clock in the afternoon, I scribbled the first version of this furiously into my notebook. I was fed up, my throat was killing me and wanted to vent. I planned to publish this as soon as I got home, but then caught myself. Why should I publish it? Would it make things better? Or is it just venomous and vindictive? I decided to put it off until I was in a less angry state, and could evaluate the decision more rationally.
The next day, I came down with the flu, and all I could do was mindlessly watch and read things on the Internet, and watch E4 and Wimbledon. Now, apart from all the mucus, the red nose and sounding rather nasal, I feel far better, and less hostile about the situation.
And I have concluded that I should put this up. As someone who has used the tube for twenty years (not including the three years at a university in another part of the country), I know what I’m talking about, and things can be improved. Hence the posters about some of these issues, which I’m sure people haven’t noticed. But they are so important. And having people being aware of this would make the world a better place.
1) People who don’t realise that they do need to hold onto the railings whilst in transit, and consequently topple over. And these people have working use of their arms and legs and seem to have enough mental capacity to be able to grip onto the railings. There’s no need for them to swear, there is usually enough room for them to grip onto something!
2) People who indulge in PDAs. Yes, it’s great you’re in love. Great that you’ve found someone who feels the same way about you as you do about them (I really think it’s a miracle when that happens). But no one else in the carriage needs to see you slobbering over each other, and making disgusting noises. If we really wanted to be witnesses to this, we’d break into your apartment/stalk you on your outings.
3) People not shuffling down the aisles to make room for others. I find it ludicrous that people don’t realize they do this. Why block people when everyone can have a bit more room and a bit more oxygen!
4) People who make the doors open and shut for no real reason. People don’t realise that if you get on the wrong tube, you can just get on a one going the opposite way at the next stop, for no extra charge!
5) People who don’t allow you to get off the train first onto the platform. It’s unofficially bad London etiquette to not stand to one side and let passengers off first. If this doesn’t happen, it’s like you’re in a rugby scrum with no ball and everyone in non-sporty attire. Not fun at all.
6) People who listen to really loud music, with or without headphones. Yes, it’s fun to try and work out what they’re listening to for a few seconds. But after that, it’s like having a musical mosquito in the vicinity which you cannot squish.
7) People (whom you don’t know) trying to strike up a conversation with you and staring at you. It’s weird that in another context, this is fine i.e. at a party, at church, at a social gathering etc. But somehow on the tube or any other sort of public transport this is CREEPY and AWKWARD. And NOT VERY BRITISH. So please don’t, unless it’s an emergency or someone is in difficulties.
8) People who ask you for money, but don’t do anything imaginative to earn it. I know that busking on the tube itself is illegal, but at least most of them are talented. They deserve that money, and hopefully they’ll get to be on X factor or someone will sign them. People who don’t even talk to you, but put slips of paper on the seat next to you, which say that they’re selling tissues (probably from Poundland or Lidl) to help them with rent, may deserve that money too. But what they really need to do is get out of their flat contract, go to a homeless shelter or refuge for a bit and then get out of London, and go somewhere where there are still jobs but cheaper rent. Or they need to come up with a better way to earn money.
9) People who are young and noisy. Their conversation is loud and may sound a bit like, ‘like, at the par’y, yeah, this girl was like so rood. *explicit phrase* so sick tho, and *explicit phrase* y’know thingy yeah bruv’. Don’t get me wrong – I have sometimes talked like this (yes, I have). But not loudly, and not about people in my peer group who have or should have gone to prison. It’s such a relief when they leave the tube and the carriage doesn’t have to listen to this cacophonous gang speak.
10) People who drive trains, and people who are TFL engineers. Although drivers usually sound cheery and personable on the speakers, they are never really happy. Although they earn far more than me and most of the people in the carriage, they make our commutes a misery, by repeatedly threatening to go on strike, but never doing so, leaving us constantly on the edge. And when they do go on strike, it’s like being on the Titanic and trying to get a place in one of the lifeboats. And when you actually have the opportunity at the weekend to have fun in the Capital, engineers constantly seem to close off parts of the line to fix them, though they’re working fine during the week. Typical.
And there are more annoying people on the Tube whom I have never come across, but apparently they are real. Here’s a video of two men pretending to be them in front of real passengers. So much respect for this Trigger Happy TV-esque!
Hope tomorrow’s journey is free of people like this, if you’re using the Tube,