Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Tube Strikes = Lord of the Flies

Those of you who have not lived in a large metropolis might find the issue of a tube strike un-relatable.  But to those of you who do, you will know just how our 'survival of the fittest' instincts start to kick in.  I think there's a kind of fight-or-flight reaction to it.

I am a flight person, i.e. I want to stick to the walk-able distances from my house and work from home and let the world duke it out.  But sometimes that's not possible... I.e. my day job seems to have a more 'bums on seats' mentality.  A lot of places do, spurring a cold, hard case of presentee-ism.

So, I made it... schlepping from a corner of North East London to a corner of South West London, I wasn't sure I would make it, but here I am.  And for those of you (Kansas City, home-town friends I'm looking at you) who have never experienced this, this is what it feels like...

This scene from Godzilla (1998) is not far
off from today's commuter experience
Leaving the house, the streets were overcrowded with grumpy people, late, in a hurry, rushing, and tutting when someone crosses their path.  Hostility fills the air like a thick funky fog.  There are people in suits with briefcases literally running.  There is no point hailing a cab, traffic isn't moving.  I'm not sure how to sum this up really, but if you've ever seen that film where Godzilla is crushing New York and people are running around all crazy while traffic is in a state of grid-lock, then you're not far off.

Luckily there was still a skeletal tube system on offer, slow and intermittent, overcrowded like the typical sardine-can metaphor.

I was lucky enough to get a seat, but ended up sitting next to a guy who actually urinated on the floor whilst sitting next to me (and yes, I was fast to pick my pink leather bag up off of the tube floor) the miniature yellow rivers trickling ever-closer to my suede, ankle boots; smells filtering through the carriage.  Good morning, Britain!

The mile-or-so walk from West Brompton involved, getting totally lost, stumbling onto a construction site in conjunction with icy gales of wind hailing South from the Scottish Highlands.  Oh to be indoors sipping Scotch and nibbling shortbread next to a fireplace with a hound at my feet.

This man looks very pleased
to be cooking me up for dinner
The tube strike brings out a real animal quality in people, snarling for space, pushing their way through with a sense of self-importance.  It clashes with the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do to you."

If Tube Strike = Lord of the Flies then I'm yesterday's BBQ.

No comments:

Post a Comment