For most people, working in London is the dream. Why else would so many people put up with three hours each day of being squished onto the central line with someones Evening Standard up their nostril? As wonderful as working in London is, there really are a few things on the commute that I think I can speak for all of us when I say we could do without.
Just to clarify – crunching is involuntary. Crunching is not annoying. If someone is eating a bag of crisps on the tube most of the time the noise of the train will cancel it out. Hey, you have been there yourself when you are dashing between meetings and a bag of Hula Hoops is all that stands between you and stomach rumbling that sounds like the huge rolling stone that chased Indiana Jones.
No my issue, ladies and gentlemen, is with those who just cannot keep their mouth shut. You see, unless you were raised by wolves the chances are at some point someone would have explained to you that you shut your mouth while you eat. The other commuters in your presence do not want to see your food rolling around like vomit in a tumble dryer, and we also do not want to hear you smacking your lips while you eat. In the last week, I have had to move TWICE because of people who think it is ok to eat like this. Grown adults as well.
We are in the midst of an epidemic.
People Who Can’t Use Escalators
I have quite a good memory and I can’t remember ever being taught how to use an escalator in school. Further to this, I also don’t remember any sort of guide being handed out when I first started having to use them. As far as I am aware I pretty much picked up the basics myself. You get on, it moves up or down, and you get off. This has always seemed like a pretty simple process to me until I started working in London and realised 99% of the population cannot use escalators. People just LOVE to stop at the bottom and keep everyone behind at a death defying stand still while they work out what to do next.
Here’s a hint hun – you get off.
Men Who Shove Women For Seats
OK so this one may seem weird as I do class myself as a slight feminist. The deal is lads, I don’t actually WANT your seat. I am a serial seat giver upper and in the last week I have done two olds, a preggers and one girl who just looked exhausted. If you are a male and you approach me for my seat and tell me you are exhausted, have a long way, and just really need to sit down I’ll hand my arse holder over to you without fuss. To me this is just basic politeness. What I do not find acceptable of so many men on the commute is the way they will actively shove women out of the way to run for seats.
Granted, the violinist at Tottenham Court Road CAN make it seem like it – but you really aren’t fighting for lifeboats on the Titanic guys.
Personal Space Invaders
I very rarely show affection to my family or friends and to be honest it freaks me right out if someone sits next to me when there are other free seats. As you can imagine this attitude does not fare me well on the commute. The packed tube is one thing. Personal space is out of the window. I’m going to have an armpit in my face until Holborn, this is the trade off for working somewhere pretty.
But off of the tube or the train there really is no need for you to be standing so close to me you are sharing my body heat.
People Who Simply MUST Read Their Paper
It still amazes me that in a city as expensive as London you get something free. I love a free Evening Standard or Metro. In fact, I challenge anyone to deny looking at the rush hour crush section in the Metro to see if they have been mentioned. The London free papers offer a similar quality of journalism to what we know as tabloids, so I struggle to believe that there is anything important enough in them for you to have to paper cut someones eyeball on the Picadilly Line. We ALL find the commute boring and I’m sure all of us are looking for something to take our mind off of the fact we are sweating because we have seven layers on and we can’t locate one of our feet.
However, if there isn’t space for you to read, there isn’t space. We are all in the same boat mate.
The Ones Who Won’t Give Up Their Seat
Sitting down is one of the things I enjoy in life probably just as much as laying down. Who doesn’t love a good sit? Getting a seat on the commute is like getting a free coffee from Pret or winning the lottery. Sometimes you have to give your seat up. As much as you love sitting the old lady or pregnant lady standing up for the whole journey would probably love it more. Nothing annoys me more than people who just stand blissfully unaware of a “Baby On Board” badge. Over the course of the last month or so I have had to offer seats to people fairly far away from me because those sitting around them just put their heads in their phones and pretend not to see someone who is quite clearly struggling.
No one wants to give up their nice comfy seat on a packed journey but it’s something you just have to like or lump like recycling or Piers Morgan on GMB.
People Who Get On Despite Their Being No Space
As much as basic knowledge of escalators seems to evade even the most experiences commuters – so do the basic laws of physics. You see the simple mantra “if there is no space, you can’t get on” seems to be ignored by even the most intelligent looking of to and from work travellers. Pop on the Jubilee line from West Ham around 810am every morning and you will be able to view this species in their natural habitat. They are ABSOLUTELY going to get on whether there is space or not. Never mind the people at the back are getting intimate with the window because they have been pushed so far against it. If you really want to get on and there doesn’t appear to be space just do what everyone else does and get on anyway.
I mean, humans are quite malleable aren’t they? Surely someone can shrink a bit or bend a bit to make an inch or two where needed? Never mind comfort, we simply do not have the ten minutes to spare.
Commuters Who Push From Behind When The People In Front Aren’t Moving
Another law of physics that seems to be absolutely lost on anyone trying to get around in London. I always thought that it was a pretty basic principle. If the people in front of me are not moving, I cannot move. Somewhere along the lines I am sure there is an ACTUAL law of physics the supports this notion that can be explained by a complicated math equation. Regardless of the obviousness of the situation – people will continue to push you if the others in front are not moving anywhere. Because in England somehow we have managed to raise a generation of people who believe pushing and shoving is the best way to get somewhere faster.
Politely asking what the hold up is or god forbid waiting patiently like everyone else, simply isn’t an option.