The last week: a ramble about commuting

So its my last week at work. Usually I’m all sentimental about leaving jobs (embarrassingly so), but the way the company is treating me because I am going leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I’ve mentioned it to people before and I’m sure its the case for many enormous corporations: the people are great, the company is dire. Anyway enough of that!

My new job is a lot closer to home and I’ll be taking my newly bought car which means no more commuting on the First Great Western commuter lines into London. Personally I don’t think the company is entitled to the words First or Great but calling the commuter line ‘Western’ would be a mite confusing (yes I know where the original name comes from nitpickers)! Like most people I hate commuting. The worst bit is that unless you are a super-bubbly person it turns you (for the hour commute at least) into a selfish suit and its hard not to come over all angry at the smallest thing. I did for a while but I’ve reined myself in. Now I have learned some tips to survive the commute on the train and the tube so I’m not the angry suit in the corner tutting that the train is delayed by thirty seconds:

  • Know where you are going: take a map with you and plan ahead so you don’t have to stop in the wave of passengers leaving the station.
  • Don’t walk right behind people with luggage, especially the wheeled kind. They stop at the drop of a hat and if you’re walking quite fast you may end up on the deck. I learned that one the hard way.
  • When walking on the Underground, act as if you were in a car. Look behind you before changing lanes, don’t stop all of a sudden and don’t cut people up. That way you can avoid other people – especially those like me who are brain-dead first thing in the morning – rear-ending you and your coffee.
  • Don’t enter a platform and loiter by the door. The suits will get annoyed and barge you and that part of the train is likely to me the most crowded. Move to the ends which are often close to empty.
  • If you are likely to be in a rush on your normal route, learn where on the train to stand so that when the train pulls in to your stop you end up close to the exit, other platform etc.

Actually thinking about it the only tip that is really necessary is for everyone to calm down and be nice to each other. Ask yourself if you really need to sit down on the train and blank the poor pregnant lady who looks like she’s about to collapse, don’t barge people out of the way and then stand stuck in a train door because you’re too impatient to way 2 minutes for the next one and do warn the poor tourist who is about to get on the wrong train and end up in the middle of nowhere.

Hmm that’s probably my impression of London really: impatient and rude. It has a great night-life, there are a million and one things to see and do but on the whole it really gets you down. In some ways I’ll miss it however I’m looking forward to replacing the grey concrete skyline for one with trees.