Sunday, 6 April 2014

London Mondays and TFL Commuting - The best thing since trains were invented

London is a depressing place on a Monday morning especially during the commuting rush hour. In fact, it is like that every single weekday besides Friday when the weekend begins. Yet back to reality, let’s face it, Monday is a Mundane start to the week. Even from looking outside the window to a grey expanse of cloudiness, it’s all too daunting to open our eyes let alone get out of bed. You can see the grey discolor through your white lace curtains. There is no sight of hope; there is no sun.
The worst luck is when it is raining and freezing outside. The sky is black like pure darkness as if it were the apocalypse. ‘Why must I go to work? Oh, I forgot because I need to pay for a trip out of here that is ideally hot, has tropical palm trees growing everywhere, white sand, ocean and pina coladas!’ As you close your eyes and envision your quick espresso as a shot of tequila your eyes go into a 0.5 second sleep. But suddenly you snore yourself out of never never land, look at the clock and dash to leave your house dressed as passable as someone picking up milk from the local. As you grab your jacket, you stop and stare at your umbrella. Will it rain today or not? Shall I bother bringing that massive unneccesity that gives me strife to my muscles and does no justice to my fashion sense? As a Londoner, you are patriotic and do as the rest of the race does; walk out without it and it’s a good thing it isn’t raining… yet.
Central London is a feisty place where life is ‘nasty, brutish and short.’ Ensure you had brought your invisible cosmopolitan helmet. Everyone is out to get each other. The station welcomes everyone: suits, nice suits, ugly suits, saville row suits, artsy teenagers, receptionists, librarians, musicians (the people who have ear muffs for headphones and turn their music up for the train to hear,) multi-coloured Spanish tourists in groups of a hundred and stand in your way. The list goes on. Train stations or even bus stops are mini airports where everyone is off to different destinations and you could not give a damn who they were because you didn’t even finish your espresso and are up against millions of people on the platform or street to grab an available seat, or so it seems.
There is no queue structure for Londoners. ‘It’s a first come, first serve’ type of situation and you lose out if you don’t muster the strength to use your bottom to nick a seat before the biggest bottom. Commuters stack themselves up against the door even when the train hasn’t stopped. As soon as the doors open, it’s a rugby scrum. Someone hits someone on the head with their briefcase, (which is usually me because I am short,) and a brutal body bashing like a resilient ping pong game ensues. The announcement says ‘please let passengers off first please’ but to h*** with it! 
Everyone is either of the belief that their punctual presence at work will give them brownie points and a good reference from their boss when they quit, or that if they don’t get in on time, there will be no free fruit left in the fruit bowl which is usually provided for the company office.
Unfortunately the last person as part of the stack is usually you and the last feral looking passengers who have entered have turned around facing the door trying to make a stand – ‘Do not enter.’ It’s a cutthroat world out there and you have got to do what you got to do.  Here is my  technique, which has got me so far in life and loathed at the same time. Irrespective, it will get a place you on the train. Read carefully. Whilst on the platform, turn around and face the wall of the platform and take one step backwards onto the train. Ensure your bag is behind your ass to ensure you don't give any passenger behind you an exciting journey, push back and there you have it. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ and you will usually hear a hissing in the back of your ear, but that’s just a common hazard.
The feel and smell of coffee breathe and yawning makes other passengers realize someone needs listerine on top on their colgate because it is not doing them any services. It is as they say like, ‘a tin of sardines’ and although packed, there is at least enough space for you to breath- air, perfume or someone’s bodily perfume. Ew! No one is comfortable as a bag maybe pushing onto someone’s groin, or someone’s back might be leaning onto his or her back. The safety poles are usually overtaken with clammy hands with no available space for others to hold onto. If all else fails, there is no alternative, but depend on the passengers surrounding you, north, south, east and west, to be your cushion in the face of an instant brake situation, which is comical. People flying onto each other and strangers grabbing each other’s clothes to support them, yet we are British after all and never forget to say ‘sorry’ to those we accidently use their boobs to break our fall. Well, most normal people do!
The train journey isn’t a fast one. It stops and moves as if the driver is letting a mouse cross the rails, which is all the time. And no matter what TFL is the most unreliable thing since trains were invented. Passengers will want to check their mobile to look out for any interesting texts, but its in the bottom of their bag and their current position does not allow for them bend down as it may offend and most definitely annoy the person(s) next to them.
Don’t be surprised if someone faints in the claustrophobic cage as they grab the emergency leaver making everyone even more happier giving them an excuse to be late for work, not! We hate London's rush hour because it means being on a crowded train with unclean, smelly, sweaty human beings.
You can bet your money you will be late for work but your manager will still blame you, which is not worth the torment. I would highly advice anyone (including myself) to leave the house an hour beforehand, but we never listen. London Commute service: Keep Calm, Jog on!