Monday, 25 May 2009

The Daily Commute

For those of you who also follow me on Facebook, you would have noticed lately that I have been posting up 'If I Ruled The World' rules as my status updates. And you may also have noticed that the vast majority (if not all) of them are aimed at the people I have to share my journey into work with, i.e. commuters.

I think you can get the measure of a person by how they behave on a bus or train when faced with what they obviously see as challenges. For example, if somebody sits next to you do you a) try and skooch along even though there isn't that much room or b) stretch your legs out even further so that the other person is precariously balanced on one butt cheek? That to me says that elsewhere in your life you are a rude, arrogant person who clearly thinks you are more important than the people you pass on the street. Or how about this one? When walking to or from the train station do you a) hold your head up high, taking care to avoid fellow passengers or b) bury your head in your mobile phone or a book? Now that to me smacks of an inconsiderate and once again, rude person. And as my fiancé so rightly and hilariously pointed out to me the other day, the world is full of cunts.

I wasn't always like this. I lived in York for a few years, and you can pretty much walk everywhere if you live close enough to the town centre. And if I got the bus, my only concern was whether or not I got a seat. It seems like London has turned me into this festering scab of rage as there are far more people to dislike and far more modes of transport to get angry with. Now, don't get me wrong - if anything terrible was to happen to somebody on public transport I would like to think I would step in there and help, but most of the time I bury myself in a good book and play my iPod just to make doubly sure no-one tries to make eye contact with me. I have far more negative experiences on the train than positive, so they have melded into one horrendous train journey, so much so, that the nicest thing that happened on the train with a total stranger stands out so vividly to me. It sounds like such a non-event, but it made my day I can tell you. The man I was sitting next to was doing a cryptic crossword and he asked me for my help on a clue he was stuck on. The fact he thought I should know was nice enough (I did get it actually), but also that he was willing to break the basic rules of commuting and have a conversation with somebody he didn't know was great. I could feel people looking at us and I swear some of them seemed to melt a little and gave off a feeling of jealousy that they hadn't been the one to sit next to this renegade crossword-puzzler. It was a nice sunny day, and I had a little glow inside me for the rest of the morning. Thank you Crossword Puzzle Man, wherever you are.

Despite my very English complaining, I don't want to be the cynical, scowling person that the daily commute is clearly turning me into - I am only 26 so I need a few more disappointments thrown at me before I get to that stage. But it is an awful, awful thing when the outcome of your day can be measured by how you were treated on the train by a fellow human being. One that you don't even know for that matter. And for me, it is so easy to either please me send me into a rage. I saw something that I truly despise and that was a lady walking while sending a text on her mobile phone, holding up a fair sized crowd coming out of Waterloo station. As you can imagine, I shook my head to myself and boiled inside, but then when the guy trying to get past her did the same as me I started smiling instead. I had found my kindred spirit and it made me realise for a split second that I am not alone and that the vast majority of people aren't cunts, they just have to live with one or two of them occasionally.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


So, I started my new job today and while it is still mid-evening (I should have re-thought the title of this blog), I have been thinking about a few things recently.

While it is exciting that I now have enough money to pay my mortgage and the endless bills for the forseeable future, it now seems like I have nothing to do for a few months. I have handed in my application for teacher training and while I wait for my references to come through I have to assume that what I wrote is sufficient to get me into one of the universities of my choice. I am relieved that I don't have to think about it anymore, but I have that awful feeling that I missed something out or put my personal statement answers in the wrong place and I think I should be working on it.

Also, I am not spending my days on the internet looking for work (and starting blogs) anymore, so everything seems really quiet at the minute. I know that once my handover is finished at the end of the week I'll be on my own so I'll welcome the quiet times and getting home to absolutely nothing, but right now it feels like I am in a kind of limbo and while I should cherish it I feel like my life is being wasted. I also don't know what I will do with my life if I don't get the chance to learn to be a teacher. Without realising it, I have pinned all my hopes on getting in to a university and training in September and even my subconcious is telling me this in my dreams. Ones with Johnny Depp in them. Sitting on the sinks of a ladies' bathroom and talking about life no less. Aw, just like high school.

I know that I could find a job for a year, or temp for a year and start next September, but I was so looking forward to starting and I have this awful feeling that if I don't do it now, I never will. While everything may seem rushed; getting student loans sorted, filling in forms, I know that if I have time to stew over them in the future they will never get done. And I have committed myself to a Proofreading and Editing correspondence course that I would like to get finished before I become a student again, but their weird symbols are putting me off.

In short, I have reached a plateau (or is it plateaux?) in my life that even alcohol doesn't seem to be helping (I know! Ludicrous!) and I need a good kick up the arse. Please form an orderly queue.