Today was my last day at work. That was somewhat overshadowed by it also being our last day in the EU. Or was it? I read a lot of news, but I’m still not clear. Either way, there were lots of people with a lot of emotions about Brexit and only, like, three people who seemed to have any kind of emotion about me leaving my job. And yes, I only had three colleagues there, but that’s not the point. I’m already annoyed about sharing a birthday with Prince George. I can’t just have one day, world? Really?
My average work day has always begun with several moments of blinding, white-hot rage on the way in to the office. That’s also been true of previous London-based jobs, and even when I worked in New York. On the downside, if I kept it up it would probably kill me by the time I reached fifty, but on the upside a little bit of burning fury can really wake a girl up in the morning.
To celebrate my last London commute I made a note of just a handful of things that annoyed me during one two-hour (I mean, don’t even get me started on that) journey. Because that’s what healthy people do, right?
1. Sitting in traffic less than one stop from the station
I can do everything right. I can leave on time (I’m not necessarily saying I do, I am simply saying that I can). The bus can even turn up on time (not often, but it has been known). And today I still sat in a traffic jam literally in sight of the tube station, surrounded by people grumbling because the bus driver wouldn’t let us off. I don’t know whether I was more annoyed about the doors staying closed when we were going nowhere, the mithering businessmen, or the fact that people will stand up and wait even though they can see that we’re not going anywhere fast. ‘Cos nothing is more productive than pressing yourself up against total strangers in a tight space when everybody’s already quietly seething. The 142 to Stanmore station in rush hour is an emotional rollercoaster. One wrong move and the whole thing could have a nervous breakdown.
2. People not crossing at the crossing
Oh, you think you’re better than me?
3. People walking too slowly
Zone 5 is still London, guys. There’s still a minimum speed. Get moving or get out of the way.
4. People running for the train
I mean, yeah, there’s a minimum speed, but Stanmore is the end of the line and that train isn’t going anywhere for another four minutes. By all means, power walk like a normal person, but nobody likes a drama queen.
5. Young hipster wearing a furry hat with earflaps as well as shorts.
If it’s warm enough to have your knees out (and it isn’t) then your ears don’t need to be covered up like you’re about to lose them to frostbite. There is no reason for that combination other than making people look at you. But those people looking at you? They think you look like a douche.
6. Somebody using the kind of fabric conditioner that makes me want to throw up.
I don’t know the brand or the specific product, but there’s a smell that immediately makes me want to hurl, and I have it narrowed down to being some kind of fabric something. How could that total stranger not just instinctively know this and get on a different carriage? And yeah, I could have moved, but the privilege of getting on at the start of the line is being able to nab the best seat on the train. That is something not given up lightly, even if you’re about to lose your breakfast.
7. Man who compared something to Noah’s Ark and followed that statement by saying “yeah, there was like 2000 people”.
Were those 2000 people a female and a male version of 1000 different animals? Because otherwise that’s not what that was.
8. Nobody being able to control their umbrellas
I really hope nobody on that train has children because they can’t even make an inanimate object do as its told.
9. Parents with a double buggy
There are two things which don’t belong on the tube during rush hour. Those two things are your children.
10. Inconsiderate idiot playing the radio really loudly on their phone
I kind of get playing music on your phone. I don’t approve, but I get it. It’s a way of marking your territory and proving to a load of people just trying to go about their day that you know we’re too intimidated to tell you to stop. It’s really big and clever. But Radio 2? I mean, that’s just weird. Who’s proudly playing the Chris Evans breakfast show for all to hear? What a weird thing to- Oh. I still have my iplayer radio alarm set to weekend time. That one’s on me.
I don’t know what I’ll do on my new journey. I’ll be a half hour walk away from my office. There’s a real risk that I won’t be able to glare at anyone over the top of my book, and my shoulder charging rate is going to go down fast. Still, maybe it’s for the best. I honestly don’t know how much more London commuting my heart can take.