The morning rush – hour is undoubtedly the worst part of my day. It is actually worse than waking up still feeling tired. I mean of all the places that you want to be at 820 on a Monday morning, the platform of a tube station waiting to be packed in like a sardine, is not anywhere near my ideal. The worst part is watching the digital clock slowly reaching to the point whereby you are no longer waiting for a train to the point where you are praying for a train to come quickly. And then it arrives, on your platform, and you are faced with a choice of either squashing someone else and dislocating their shoulder, or awkwardly positioning yourself between a human body and a steel door and dislocating your own shoulder. Inevitably, its always my shoulder that gets dislocated, because worse than having a bad morning myself, is making someone else’s morning bad too.
Apart from rambling on about public transport for a bit, the reason why I wanted to introduce my rush hour journey, was to tell the story of an incident I saw unfolding in front of my eyes a few days ago. Basically, after watching 7 central lines go without being able to get on them and seeing the clock tick from 8.19 – 8.49 (8.42 is the point where I am guaranteed to be late), I finally made it onto the train and as has become statuary, dislocating my shoulder so as not to hurt anyone else. The normal, sudden stops that the driver thinks is funny as about a million people come crushing into one other occurred, and my attempt to sleep standing up was broken time and time again. By the time I had got to Bank station, the train had emptied out a little and I was relieved to be able to feel my toes again after someone had decide to stand on my foot the whole journey. As people were departing, I noticed from the corner of my eye, that a young lady was tipping to one side, and before my brain could process what I was seeing (I am not slow, it was like, a millisecond) she had feinted and made a heavy thud contact with the floor of the train. One angry commuter in fact forbade a concerned commuter from ringing the bell as he was ‘F**king late anyway’.
In fact the lack of support and help from my fellow passengers shocked me, and it was another woman and myself that had got some water for the girl and were helping her to slowly come around. I couldn’t help but notice that the young lady’s ring on her wedding finger had slid off as she fell to the ground. It was quite apparent that she was in shock and very quickly she was struck with overwhelming panic and she was no longer responding to questions and completely fazed out. Angry, concerned, reserved, late, worried passengers all looked down at the girl and she looked back up at them. The mere act of a few of her fellow passengers to crouch down to her level seemed to be too painful. She was ushered off by underground staff shortly afterwards so she could regain her awareness.
There are a variety of reasons why she may have feinted. Being me, with a hyperactive imagination, I had convinced myself that she must have had a barney with her husband in the morning, skipped breakfast and got on the train without him. In truth, she probably was feeling a bit hot, a bit claustrophobic and a bit sleepy. The point is, that at some point she will have the chance to call her husband and explain her trauma of the morning commute. Despite, looking up and seeing disgruntled, angry, concerned and worried faces and feeling like she was an inconvenience and beneath everyone else on that morning train, she would have the chance to either joke about the whole escapade or be lent a shoulder to lean on by her husband. Either way she has someone. And so do we all. If we don’t have parents, we have siblings. If we don’t have siblings, we have friends. If we don’t have friends, we have colleagues. If we don’t have colleagues, we have our local newsagent. We have someone.
Some have no one. Some have nothing. And I guess the reason why the whole train thing stuck with me, was because as I leant forward and told the young lady to sip on the water, I remember having the same dialogue with a little boy I met in