For the last six years I have driven to work, however due to a location change I recently started taking Public Transport namely the London Underground, affectionately known as the ‘The Tube’. Oh the joy I felt not having to deal with Traffic, Pollution, and 4x4s. Friends warned me of the horrors that lurked beneath but alas I did not heed, I was just excited about not having to honk my horn in the mornings and enjoy a ‘relatively’ stress free journey to work. A lamb to the slaughter I tell you, A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER. It is not the Journey but the passengers that caused the most shock, amusement, and empathy.
1. The Star Crossed Lovers
You will see them from afar and believe you are looking at one giant blob, it is only when they descend through the platform and loom nearer, you realise that there are in fact two people joined together by their lips. Oblivious of you (or anyone else for that matter) they will not unlink hands to allow you to pass. Star Crossed Lovers are often found staring at one another, whilst whispering sweet nothings over a packed tube train. Both are insanely good-looking to the point their future offspring will most probably grace the cover of VOGUE or ESQUIRE and their loving ‘Glow’ will almost light up the carriage you are seated in, as well as the next carriage, and the next, and the next…..
Look, don’t get me wrong I’m definitely not a killjoy and love is wonderful and all that, but really? It’s the morning and my croissant and hot beverage is trying to settle.
2. The Terminator
This Passenger is dangerous, you must avoid at all costs for your life depends on it. They are quick and will push you out the way with little regard to you or anyone else. This passenger is usually the most unassuming; however once they have ventured into the Underground they become ‘The Terminator’, their sole aim to ‘take out’ any one in their path the prize you ask? A seat on the tube is the answer. I personally do not think they have anywhere to go and this is some kind of imaginary sport to see how many passengers they can ‘wind’ on the way to the tube, nevertheless avoid them….please.
3. Can you move down please person
We have ALL been there, the tube is hot, sweaty, and your personal space has been violated. The doors have opened at the next stop, and the platform is full to capacity. From the pleading looks from the passengers already on-board, it will give the opportunity for those on the platform to weigh up their options and admit defeat realising its better to wait for another train. If the pitiful looks have worked, most normal people will step back in defeat, until the silence is broken with “CAN YOU MOVE DOWN PLEASE”.
I’m not sure what else to say here; in shock and disbelief most people will try and move down. And just to add insult to injury ‘Can you move down please person’ manages to get on and will endure the glares from fellow passengers for the remainder of the journey.
4. The Makeup Artist
If you are lucky enough to get a seat, you may get to watch a human spectacle unfold in front of your very eyes, better than Corrie or EastEnders; it will come in the shape of the Makeup Artist. The Lady or Gentleman will apply a full set of makeup on a crowded train, they will KNOW they have an audience, in fact it will drive them on, and each application is done with flare and panache the aim being to pull onlookers in. Unfortunately I have been caught out on many occasion staring. I ask myself this, How can ‘The Makeup Artist’ put a perfect face on whilst the train is in full motion and I can only manage some sort of clown face? Yes I am indeed jealous, so sue me. This passenger is phenomenal and I will continue to be in awe, and secretly practice once they have left the train.
5. The Sleeper
This Passenger drives fear in all whom it sits next to; as soon as they sit down (unfortunately next to you) they are rendered unconscious. The fear and torment does not stop there, because you now have to wonder throughout the majority of your journey whether their head will land on your shoulder. Terror, and fear all in one swoop, many questions will enter your head what will you do if they DO choose you to be a pillow? Or will they dribble?!! Avoid at all costs or wear some special shoulder pads.
6. The ‘Aspiring’ DJ
This will probably be one of the most irritating passengers that you will ever come across, They will listen to the whole back catalogue of ‘IBIZA 2010’ with headphones on full blast, whilst on a packed train. In the Morning this passenger will evoke rage in everyone around them, Unfortunely his or her fellow passengers are way too polite and will probably not tell him or her to turn it off.
7. The Lost One
The London Underground can be daunting and devour the meekest of personalities in one swoop therefore Number 7 needs no introductions. This passenger does not know where they are going and not likely to. They will find themselves on the northbound platform when they need to be south, and take exits that will lead them back out the station. The Lost One will hold up commuter traffic whilst they try to decipher their Victoria Line from their Jubilee, Northern from their Central and finally give up and take the bus. A parting warning is, they can cause delay to your own travel route, so either help or discreetly step away from them for they WILL ask for directions.
8. The one who just made it
I must say this passenger can be quite amusing, also Kids don’t try this at home for this Passenger has somewhat of a death wish. The One who just made it ‘Comes to life’ just as the train doors begin to close. For it at this moment they will try to enter the train and get trapped in the process, you will often see this passenger being untangled by an elderly lady and two tourists. For the rest of us we will sit and smirk, and in our heads think ‘you should have waited for the next train’
9. The one who didn’t make it
This brings me nicely to the One who didn’t make it, he/she is similar to ‘The one who made it’ however he doesn’t manage to get on to the train. This passenger will knock everyone out of his way in order to board, just as the door closes. They will left red-faced just as the train departs for all of the efforts were in vain. Personally I’m not sure who is worse 8 or 9 The shame in both occasions can impact on your day and may make you think seriously about taking other modes of transport. Nonetheless a lesson is learned here, wait for the next train…
10. The Citizen of the Underground
You will find the Citizen of the Underground in a deep slumber travelling stop to stop, day in day out. I’m not sure how they get on but they do, I guess the Underground Staff feel sorry for them. I believe The Underground acts as a place of solace, warmth, and comfort where a good long sleep is guaranteed. Many of London’s Homeless travel the tube network to keep out of the harsh reality of the streets, travelling from one end to another as life passes by. I watch on wondering who they are, or were. What were their dreams, and are they buried and long forgotten or lying dormant waiting for an opportunity to rise again. We rush around in our daily life, as the Citizen of the Underground sleeps peacefully. Take time out of your busy schedule and spare a thought for London’s Homeless as you go on your way.
Happy Travelling! Ali