26 and a bit miles is one thing. But the air in this city stinks. It must have half the oxygen concentration of proper air. I wouldn't want to do any exercise here - anything that makes you breathe in any deeper than absolutely necessary is a no-no.
Travelling in is a very unpleasant experience. You spend 45 minutes standing in a crowded train, cramped in with strangers, drowning in a gassy sea of morning halitosis. Then you get off and waddle in a giant flock of human ducks (ahem) slowly making their way from the train to the tube. Down to the platform, as you submerge into the sea of halitosis once more.
I think the thing I hate most is how if you try to show any courtesy by letting someone on before you, or giving someone a couple of inches of space as you queue, some lowlife toad will drop an elbow into the gap and lever himself in.
Essentially the price for showing courtesy or respect is to get shafted. It's turned into a weakness.
Meanwhile the rude, mean-spirited little locals carve up the queues. Sometimes the middle-aged women are the worst - disillusioned with a world that lost interest as quickly as the beauty of their youth faded and secure in the knowledge that nobody's going to really retaliate, they have nothing to lose as they get physical with their elbows and high heels.
I don't like the way they smell either. Too much purfume, it's overpowering.
You can't fight back, and they're skunked up to push you further out of contention for the next tube carriage.
Mind you, it seems like a rough lot - middle aged women do seem to get somewhat neglected by the world. I guess this is especially true in a big city.
Men tend to fare a little better. Not to worry though, by the time you're retired, whatever your gender society will view you as worthless.
So, fresh from an hour sardined in with obnoxious strangers who treat you like dirt and who stink of bad perfume and stale mouth, you're ready to start your working day.
And what a grind that is. 8 hours of grind, before you get to go home. Then it's another hour with the same vile people. The breath tends to be better, but the crowds usually seem worse.
A couple of hours to unwind, and your evening is fast ebbing away. Maybe 2 more hours to get something to eat and squeeze in some time to try to be happy.
The thing I really hate is the damage it's doing to my generalised other.
The human brain can only keep track of the detailed likes, dislikes, and views of 7 or 8 individuals. The rest gets fudged into a generic 'everyone'. This is the generalised other. You use it when you think of trends and generalities in people at large. This perception of 'everyone' is shaped by every interaction you have. It's not, however, usually accurate to what 'everyone' is really like. This is why publications like the Daily Mail are harmful to peoples' world views - your 'everyone' is shaped by stories of peadophiles and illegal immigrants and terrorists and single mums. Your perception of 'everyone' gets skewed even further out of line with reality than normal. You gradually become a suspicious, hateful and biggoted retard. As many of the people on my old paper round will evidence.
The twice-daily battering of smelly scumbags is impacting my generalised other. I become more indifferent, even rude myself, to strangers. The zombies have eaten my brains and I'm slowly transforming into one of them.
Is this the great disease of the 21st century?
(Or are we still worried about cancer and AIDs? *Slaps self for the melodrama*. 3rd greatest disease then.)
I hope I get out of this city soon.
Even the city's here are much alike what you describe. In Honolulu they don't have a rail line, as they voted against tearing up the islandy panorama a little over ten years ago. Now they have bumper-to-bumper rush-hour parking-lot traffic all the time..to accompany their concrete jungle! :) The public transit "The Bus" is just as overcrowded. Sometimes, when I eat Chinese food, it brings back those memories of riding sardine-style, gaging on moth-ball smelling people through China Town. Not much of a paradise, if you ask me.
Here in Portland, the Max rail is alright in the morning, but the evening flux is really cramped. I usually stayed at work overtime to avoid the 5pm jam.
Those old bats, I mean, middle-aged folk you speak of, probably have resigned themselves to that being their world and for most of them that's just the way of life as they've always known it. Bit of cognitive conditioning, wouldn't you say?
Some people have the wherewithal (driven by an education, no doubt) and inner networking to view it as just a part of that stepping stone to something better. Perhaps embracing the experience to let it strengthen you, not allowing it to change or meld you into being one of them, is in order? Although I can see how it can be so easy to lose oneself in the sea of so many. Keep your minds-eye on the grander scale. Or, as I like to say, the "grandeur" scale. :) Such a test of character, isn't it..
Mass transit can certainly be an exceptional motivational vice to working really hard and making it. But then, 'success' becomes living a simple life in the country and having your own car? Oh the twisted lives we lead.. :P
Dude, should have got that job in Notts!! Pretty much in the countryside, and being able to walk to work in half an hour. It's ace!! :D
Can't really imagine what it'd be like to do that journey into London every day. Sounds like pure hell! I'd be sick enough having to get the bus across Notts for an hour in the morning and afternoon like some people here, so a stinky train, crammed full of ignorant people doesn't sound like the best start to your working day.
> When you blow your nose and see black sooty deposited on your
> handkerchief, you can't help but think you're killing yourself
> by being there.
Ah yeah, that does bother me. I've not got much sense of smell so i never really notice the pollution but that does remind me it's there.
It stinks, and mainly it stinks of the slow toxicity of car fumes. Even when there are no cars around. (Around Barbican on a weekend is shockingly quiet by London standards. It's like 28 days later, but with one or two more zombies).
When you blow your nose and see black sooty deposited on your handkerchief, you can't help but think you're killing yourself by being there.
But such smells, fumes and deposits are no doubt the future of humanity.
I was thinking today, I really don't like that the commute is turning me into such an a**hole. You seem to have a fundamental choice:
- allow people to treat you like dirt and just accept it, all the while being 'nice' generally. But this makes you a gimp.
- allow them to infect you, so that you too are an a**hole and treat people badly, at least on the transport system.
This doesn't have to mean going to the extent of being overly obnoxious, but it at least requires aggressive queuing and a lack of active courtesy.
However, it can be taken further, to a general disregard of others' wellbeing, in non-'necessary' situations. I think it would be very tough to stop the attitude seeping over beyond the 'necessary' times.
I think it'd be tough to stop this attitude changing you as a person off the tube too.
I have no idea which choice is best.
A journey that should have taken less then an hour took me 2 hours to get home. I was p****d off. Especially when i got home only to discover my 10 quid was missing and i nearly got myself run over by a bus.
Hopefully the journey to reading won't be so painful. As i'll miss the peak travel times and it'll be pleasant. Wish i can spend a litte time in london china town and get something there.
> Not a big fan of London, but then everyone I speak to who lives
> there wants to get out, which doesn't help my view of the
Yeah i'm another one to add to that list. It's a great city and a great place to live but only for a while. It does get boring but then i guess everywhere does eventually. I've done the moving out into the country thing, it bored me stupid and i wanted to come back.