Wednesday, 16 April 2008

A Love-Hate Relationship

The positives and negatives for the London tube are many - one day you can love it, the very next hour can you find yourself with a growing aversion for it. At the very least, it has been a place of new experiences for Traveller.

The positives are clear - it's fast, it's relatively easy to follow, there are free newspapers to read (many different varieties) and the tubes come every 1-5 mins no matter what hour or where you are going. The negatives become clear over time - it's hot, it's cramped, Londoner's aren't very nice on transport, there are frequent delays and works are usually being done on the main tube lines over the weekend.

The one element of tube travelling that became clear to Traveller in her first week was how sour Londoners can be on the tube - there are no smiles, no manners, and it's mostly each man for himself. People race for seats, they barely look at each other and they can sometimes shove each other to get on and off. T found herself behaving like a Londoner after a few weeks - always looking down, having her face in a book or a newspaper and she even started to develop the killer instinct in seat hunting - never shoving, but definitely racing people to seats.

This development in Traveller's tube persona became even more clear to her when she arrived home one day to Hubbie, who had a story to tell. It had been a normal morning on the tube for Traveller - a quick walk to Maida Vale station, a jump onto the Bakerloo line and then a swap at Oxford Circus to go straight through to Bank station. Unbeknowest to her, Hubbie had been right behind her, and had been standing right next to her on the Bakerloo line. He revealed that he had even looked right over her shoulder to watch her Ipod for 10 minutes! Traveller didn't even notice!

That same week, Traveller had a rare experience on the tube - she was sitting on a four seater, with two ladies opposite her and a man beside her. The man was a little bigger than T and was taking up a little more than his share of the seat. Then, after a long day, the man started to nod off. As his eyes closed he inched closer and closer to Traveller - he became so close in fact, that his head started to rest on her shoulder. The two ladies opposite to T started to make eye contact with her, and one even let out a giggle. As the man got more and more comfortable on T's side of the seat, both ladies let out peals of laughter. Luckily, upon hearing the laughter, the man quickly sat up straight and wiped the drool from his mouth. As gross as this was, Traveller couldn't help but smile - she had actually shared a 'moment' with two ladies on the tube.......quite an achievement!

The best thing, however, about the tube has been the the occasions where Traveller and her hubbie have been able to travel together. It has, of late, become a frequent occurence for them to catch the tube home together from work. Traveller loves this - being able to pass the time and the re-tellings of the day on the tube is - as Londoner's would put it - fab!

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