Its now March. I can no longer exclaim its January thus why I’m carrying Christmas weight. The fact is its cold, I’m lazy and summer is still far enough away to make me feel ok about this. My voyage to the tube is full of dread. I dread it more than my actual working day. The walk to Putney Bridge always has a sound track to that morning’s mood, this usually features something terribly dramatic, ‘It’s the Final Countdown’ being a regular feature.
I arrive. I am not the first and I shall not be the last. I make my way down the end of the platform, feeling very self-important in my suit. No one here knows that I bought this suit with my mum. I notice my usual morning comrades. Mrs Orange Coat and Mr Bald Head. We clock each other and we nod. We have not officially discussed our comradeship as we have never spoken but we always ride in the same carriage. I am sure if I had to form a band with whoever was on my platform we would be the chosen trio. Bald Head on the base, myself on the drums and Orange Coat would be our lead vocalist-the moneymaker. As the manager I would advize Orange Coat to invest in another colour of coat (as it has been 6 months straight and the orange has prevailed consistently). Perhaps we would have an argument over the coat and the trio would split up. Perhaps Orange Coat would have a solo career and be really successful. That would be shit.
I am losing sight of the actual journey itself. As the tube approaches I can see people edging closer and closer to the yellow line. It’s all about positioning yourself. I am usually in a solid starting position but lose confidence as the tube arrives. I can feel the bodies behind me leaning in. I stand my ground, but I usually spot someone who weakens my persistence. A pregnant lady perhaps or an old man are the usual suspects. This is where it can go tits up very quickly. The tube doors open and I pause to let said pregnant lady or old man on before me. There is a flurry of pushing and shoving and I lose my positioning and I am suddenly one of the last on. A fatal error. I am now nowhere near the smug seated people, which means I may not be near them for a good four or five stops. Instead I am by the doors and am a hair’s breath from the windows that are stained with condensation.
Being in the throws of winter you will be guaranteed to be in a carriage with four or five coughers and a strong handful of people with the sniffles. There is no way out the germ-infested hotbox until you reach your chosen destination. Holding your breath is not a viable option and so the only option left is to suck it up. Your immune system will hopefully only be getting stronger with each day. The waft of BO is apparent and the heat is suffocating. You must continue though.
The next stop after your own must be the worst. You know no one will be getting off as they only just got in, but the people at Parsons Green also need to get to work. They already let the tube before you go because it looked jammed. Yours is equally jammed, but they’ve already lost minutes of their journey. You eye them all to say ‘No, don’t do it- there is literally no room’ but they’re looking at you to say ‘Oh yes there is, I’ll make room’. The doors open and the bravest ones almost lunge into you. I would say a meagre 3 actually manage to squeeze themselves in and they instantly become the most hated people on the carriage (next to the coughers). You are suddenly given full permission to look at them disgusted for the entire journey. It makes you feel much better. The daily commute via tube is most unpleasant but is essential in your quest to get from A to B. We must all soldier on though and not allow it to dampen our spirits. The journey allows us to make our bacon in order to live in this expensive city we call London. Be strong and prevail.