We found a disgruntled commuter who agreed to write a “day in the life” piece about their commuting experience. Screaming children, lack of natural daylight, angry businessmen… what’s the worst thing you’ve ever had to suffer through?
Waking up this early is not natural.
I’m waiting at Oakwood and it’s still dark. I mean, it is literally still night time. When you live on the outskirts of London – let’s be honest, can we even call it the London Underground anymore? – these sorts of commutes become common. Zone 5. It could be worse. The “Underground” technically goes as far as Zone 9. Those poor bastards in Chesham, wherever that is.
Also, Underground? The Piccadilly line is taking the piss, really. You get on at Oakwood and you’re still above ground. Scenery, signal, internet – this is pretty nice. Then Southgate comes along and spoils the party. You’re just about getting used to this when the train suddenly re-emerges, you get blinded by the sunlight (sun’s just about started rising by now) and the train rolls into Arnos Grove. Once you’re there, the train decides to stop – just to kind of confuse you. Are we overground? Are we underground? And how long are we going to be here anyway… do I have time to watch Game of Thrones on my phone?
I forgot about the whole having to choose a seat bit. That’s the worst part of the journey. You can’t sit in one of the priority seats in case you need to move, and moving is always awkward. You have your headphones in and God forbid you accidentally look someone in the eye. Talk to someone? Forget it. And you don’t want a seat next to someone – remember the one-seat-gap rule. It’s like pissing in urinals – the same rule applies.
When you finally get to wherever you’re going – which, ironically, takes longer the nearer to central London you get, even though the stops are all, like, way closer to each other – you have to get off the train. This can be incredibly difficult. And if there’s one thing I hate about the Underground, it’s the escalators.
Escalators at Bermondsey Underground Station, 15 October 2013
Step into any Underground station, at any time between, say, half seven and half nine in the morning, and you’ll be met with a mass of people, rushing around, smacking you in the ribs with their briefcases. Until they get to the escalator. Escalators appear to be in some sort of paradigm shift, where all of a sudden time – and people – stand still. What’s that? Two minutes ago you tried to push me into an oncoming train because you were running late for work but now you have time to stand still for a minute on the fucking stairs?
Spicy Green Ginger
The only thing that’s left is to go home at the end of the day. This either gets incredibly harder or much more pleasant depending on how much you’ve been drinking and where you need to go. The wonderful thing about Oakwood is that, every now and then – and probably because the driver gets bored and doesn’t give a toss anymore – the train randomly decides to terminate at Oakwood. Which means however comatose you are you can’t miss your stop. Just don’t do what a friend did – fall asleep with your iPhone 5 in your outstretched hand and your headphones in.
Because if you do, you’ll be woken up by some smug bastard at Oakwood, holding the other end of your headphones and asking you: “Were these supposed to be plugged into something, mate?”