Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mob Rules.

Since my lovely holiday has somewhat came to an grinding halt, I've been forced to travel on that wondrous beast that is London public transport. I'm starting work at roughly 9.00am in London Bridge and I have a few options open to get there.

The easiest, but longest option is the number 133 bus. The quickest, but painful option is the tube. I lazily got out of bed this morning, so today I was going to be a tube bitch. Getting closer to Brixton I saw a huge mob outside the station. Ohh I wonder what's going on? In Brixton it could be anything. Wackos on a rampage, little old ladies falling down the stairs, terrorists, whatever. This time it was 2 tube dudes not letting people in.

Turns out there was a signal failure down the line. Surprise! I managed to squeeze through and get down the stairs. I looked back and saw 2 guys in fluro jackets holding all these people back like a huge bunch of sheep. This blew me away. Two "officials" wielding so much power over the people. English people strike me as having so much respect for authority. All it would take is a rowdy person at the back (ie: me) to push forward a little to send the front row of people cascading down the stairs. A bit like that game in arcades with all the 10p pieces on sliding terraces. But no. All the docile humans waited for the fluro jacketed gatekeepers to let them down the stairs. How cute.

Due to the masses of people, the tube was rammed. Lucky for me, I was only going to Stockwell to jump onto the Northern Line to take me to work. I hopped off a rammed tube only to get on a moving cannery full of sardines. Ha! It couldn't be more packed.

This is where I noticed the second trait of English people. No one dared to look another in the eye. Sure, you could be wedged in someone's armpit, a briefcase up your arse, one hand on a railing, and another trying to shuffle an ipod with the other. But catch someones eye! Jesus Christ, stop the train. Full scale security alert! I spent the whole time trying to catch peoples eye, and giving them a smile. It didn't happen once. Sad eh?

The funny thing was, when people moved, due to being in some 3d version of twister and touched skin on skin, almost immediately the word "sorry" would come spilling out. Sorry? What the fuck? For what? Being in a crammed environment? Being English? Accidently touching someone? Saying "sorry" so flippantly but not looking another human in the eye and smiling? What a weird bunch of folk. Any way I hopped off at London Bridge, made a hasty exit out to the wet concrete world and scurried off to the relative safety of work.

PS: I'm getting the bus tomorrow.