Wednesday, July 13, 2005

people on the tube

I don't like taking the tube in London, the air is bad and it tends to depress me, though it can be fun to watch people sometimes. As noone usually speaks, they are all faces without words. I rely on it almost everyday though to take me to work and back, and around London, even though there is an alternative route that i sometimes take on the Silverlink, which can be annoying too. Anyway last thursday, 07.07. I was debating with myself for some split seconds which route to take but stayed on the side of the road that leads to West Hampstead tube station, took the tube to Baker Street, where an announcement informed that some lines weren't running because an incident, possibly a power failure. this was just after 9 am, i think. I didn't think too much about it, since these incidents, delays, cancellations occur with depressing regularity. So I still got the Bakerloo line which passes the *other* Edgware Road tube station and got to Paddington, where everyone got evacuated. I remember asking someone whether she knew what was going on, who turned out to be a tourist who didn't really speak English. In Paddington, overground trains were still running, so I got a 9.20 train to Ealing. I must have passed Edgware Road at about 9.10 or so...

I know the Circle line from Liverpool Street to Paddington very well too, from when I used to live in East London, and I know how busy all these places are around 9am, cause this is around the time i used to pass through there. Most people are dressed for work, and already present some sort of 'office type person' mask, are dressed in a certain way, and everyone just wants to get from A to B. It's very common for people in London to travel long distances through the city on a regular basis, you just have to. Despite this sense of conformity, and this collective rushing, squeezing, pushing, gaining ground, seats, reaching the end of a tunnel, hearing the right announcement to go to the right platform at the right time etc.. you can find an amazing diversity of people travelling in these underground tunnels, and there's often a sexy, horny atmosphere despite the heat and the claustrophobia, but maybe even because of it.

It's been said that peopel have to get on with their lives, and that Londoners have shown the world that they won't be beaten into fear, but I'm not so sure. Car traffic is heavier and more people seem to use alternatives to the tube right now. I think i'm going to avoid it even more at the moment too. Things are getting back to normal but it's not as easy as it seems underneath the surface...

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