Sunday, 12 September 2010

Tube Boob

I love my flat. Not because it is particularly big or in a posh area, but because it is within walking distance from work. Admittedly, half an hours’ walking distance from work, but it gives me a chance to wake up and wind down on a daily basis. Something I would definitely miss if I had to catch the tube every day.
So, technically, the tube strike shouldn’t have affected me this week. Unfortunately this was not the case. I had a meeting planned for 9am on Tuesday in Camden Town. Not being used to a daily commute, the thought of catching a bendy bus during rush hour didn’t faze me. This was a big mistake. The first five buses to pass our bus stop didn’t even open their doors. The first one that did spewed out a handful of harassed commuters who were quickly replaced by the feisty among those of us stood at the bus stop. Luckily, a 253 finally stopped and opened its back doors. Determined not to miss my meeting, I got my elbows out and joined in the scrum. Amazingly I secured my place, albeit precariously close to the door, and hung on for dear life. Incredulously, at the next stop, I secured a seat. Result.
Throughout the rest of the day I managed to get a seat on every mode of transport I used. Okay, so when I jumped on the Northern line I had to jump straight off again after hearing an announcement that they were not stopping at Mornington Crescent, but the latest I was for any of my meetings that day was 15 minutes. Not bad.
However, the next day the tube was not so kind. Yes, the strike was over, but I had to travel across London, north to south, in order to arrive at Clapham for 9am. Again, my lack of recent experience travelling at rush hour hindered me. The first train to Morden was rammed to the rafters, so I jumped on the second train that pulled into Archway and changed at Camden. After running from one platform to the other, it would have been easier to wait at Archway and at least guarantee breathing space if nothing else. Needless to say I was 15 minutes late, decidedly hot and bothered and gasping for a little bit of personal space. Not a good first impression for your first day at college.
So, next week I shall be giving myself an extra half an hour to ensure that I arrive cool, calm and collected. I shall also be more mindful of any tube strikes that happen to lurk around any future corners. I’ll also be praying to anyone who listens that they don’t fall on a Wednesday and be looking very closely at commuting routes if I ever end up moving further away from the office. Let’s face it, the only mode of transport you can rely on in this town are your feet, and even they need servicing once in a while. A car is becoming more attractive every day...

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