It seems that I spend all of my time these days traveling. Whether it’s waltzing up the country to visit my boyfriend, or snoozily gallivanting in-between work and home, or dragging my lifeless body to the kitchen to make coffee – traveling has become an integral part of my day-to-day routine. As such, I have begun to notice some things. Routine thought processes, in myself and others. I thought that I’d share them with you.
MONDAY – TUESDAY
Firstly, it is important to note that I vastly improve as a person throughout the week. It’s like I return to and conquer puberty every seven days. As you may have guessed, then, Monday is not the best day to befriend me. My commuter thoughts on this day (and sometimes Tuesday too if it was a particularly wild weekend, by which I mean of course that I had two bottles of cider watching Netflix instead of one) are very self-indulgent and/or violent, reading as something like this:
A. Ohgodohgodohgod. I am so tired. I am SO TIRED. Everything is pain. Life is pain. No-one is more tired than me. NO-ONE.
B. MAKE YOUR KID SHUT THE FUCK UP. OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP CRYING, JUST TELL IT TO CRY INSIDE, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!
C. Why the frickety frack did you decide to sit next to me, you polkadot-wearing motherfucking moustache owner, WHY!?
I am not a violent or cruel person, ordinarily (or so I like to think.) I simply have a very emphatic internal monologue between the hours of 06.30 – 10.00 a.m., within which the commute exists. I certainly would never purposefully insult or upset an innocent citizen (I would be horrified if the Green Clarinet player from Mitchell & Webb made an appearance on the tube whilst I was having such thoughts, and made me tell my ‘darkest truths’.) These mental witterings are simply reams of exhausted, patience-lacking crap. Genuinely nothing personal. I am also objectal (a word I strongly believe should be recognised and accepted by the Oxford English Dictionary, with the definition of when are internally objecting towards inanimate objects.) For instance, I might also think things like:
A. Goddamn Waitrose, WHY have you run out of fucking coffee cup lids!? TODAY IS AWFUL, WHY MUST I LIVE THIS LID-LESS LIFE. Ohgodohgod I’m so tired. Life is pain.
B. Ughhhh I can’t find my Oyster card, WHY AM I SO PISSING DISORGANIZED, my life is a shit-show – oh, there it is.
C. I know you’re hiding from me, long black cardigan. Don’t you fucking mess with me, you too-big-for-your-boots 100% cotton piece of shit. I will find you. And I will wear you.
You could probably neatly surmise my Monday Morning Commute Thoughts into two categories – self-hating and selfish. I’m either consistently pissed off at my lack of “keeping-it-together” or pissed off at the rest of the world for, well, nothing, just pissed off that I have to be involved in its activities instead of in bed and nicely unconscious with my face in a pool of Mini Cheddars.
You can’t judge me for this. I would bet genuine money that everyone else is just as mad as me on these days, before they’ve had a chance to rendezvous with cereal and are still hating all things. Many other commuters appear to handle their inner-rage even more badly, even, for although I occasionally think like a dictatorial army general I would never act out against my recruits (a.k.a., the people that I share the train with.) The other day I witnessed some guy chasing another out of a carriage to throw a plastic coffee cup at him. Last week a different guy started yelling at someone after we’d boarded because he insisted that he’d pushed in front of him, though there were plenty of seats and neither of them had anything to worry about. I mean, chill (yes, I am aware of my appalling self-righteousness.) I mean, we’re all as pissed off at each other. LET’S JUST HATE EVERYTHING IN OUR OWN HEADS INSTEAD OF MAKING IT EVEN WORSE, YEAH?
Most-used words on the Monday – Tuesday commute:
Why, fuck, hate, tired, god, please, no, help.
WEDNESDAY – THURSDAY
These are much happier days, thought-wise at least. Most days there is even little room for thought, angry or otherwise, because I’m often awake enough to read whatever comedy I’ve got sitting in my bag or bug my sister with a consistent barrage of questions (“Why don’t we get coffee at the station this morning?” “Have I accidentally coloured in an eyebrow purple?” “Are you tired? I’m surprisingly awake! Wow! Hey, wake up…”) Higher-spirits are abundant and when left alone with my brain to think, I tend to think a lot more thinky things, as opposed to aimless cursing things (the mindset of my other, less-forgiving albeit creatively-insulting personality.) You could befriend me on these days if you wanted to, with a much higher chance of success. On these days I’ll be thinking things like:
A. That was such a weird dream I had last night about being married to a dragon (this dream actually happened.) Maybe I will write a blog about it? Maybe I have subliminal connections to Donkey (from Shrek.) Hmm. Should get therapist.
B. I should have an EXCELLENT LUNCH today. It is mid-week, after all. What shall I have for lunch!? I wish it was lunch.
C. I’MMA DO THE THINGS THAT I WANNA DO, I ‘AINT GOT A THING TO PROVE TO YOU! I EAT MY CANDY WITH THE PORK AND BEANS, EXCUSE MY MANNERS IF I MAKE A SCENE! *Headbangs wildly at tube stop to the horror of other commuters*
D. Oh, somebody sat next to me. Better cross my legs to make more room. That is quite a well looked-after moustache.
And other such pleasantries.
Most-used words on Wednesday – Thursday commute:
Food, wow, wonder, interesting, pleasant, dream, coffee, surprisingly awake.
Ah, Friday. The Queen of commuter thinking. This is both a pleasant and exceedingly unpleasant day for me in concerns to traveling, as this is the day that I get both the final trains for work (yay) and the train/bus back up North to visit my boyfriend (yay as well, but drizzled with weeping and fear at the prospect of an evening of grimmer travel.) As I am (constantly and forever) a bit poor, I often resort to the Megabus for my travel needs. But more on that in a second.
Ordinarily, my inner-monologue on a Friday tube is resplendently chirpy. For the most part – because people are in such a rush to get home from work on a Friday that I do not think that they particularly care if they crush you to death, which sort of marrs the good mood a bit. I mean, they don’t want to crush you to death, they’re just not really considering that they might. I was on the phone to my mother last week and didn’t notice when the train pulled in, and was literally lifted aboard by the people scrambling to get inside. I didn’t even have to use my legs. I was like a fish in a giant fisherman’s net, swimming along until a great surge upwards cannon-balled me into my peers whilst anxiously thinking “What the hell!?” Then, everyone began to shout at each other up and down the carriage because there wasn’t enough room.
Ultimately what it all bottles down to is that people are really damn impatient.
For the most part, though, my thoughts are jovial:
A. Oh man, I can’t wait for today to be over, then I can go and enjoy my weekend in the North again WOOOOOooo! What shall I buy for dinner!?
B. I’M GOING TO DO SO MANY THINGS THIS WEEKEND! Will bake a fort of cake, be good and save money, explore a place/see a film/practice Real Life Fruit Ninja with my guy (Note: these thoughts [except for the penultimate two] rarely come to fruition. I will often bow out of making cake for fear that I may grill it/set house aflame. Also, when myself and my partner Do A Thing, it will probably result in my accidentally spending approx. £1000. Only last weekend we woke up surrounded by pizza boxes which came to a bill of £30 bought in a 4 a.m. delirious stupor. Why.)
C. I am going to be SO LOVELY to everyone today. Particularly the lady behind the counter at PAUL. Sucks to work in the services industry at a weekend, I really feel for them. Lovely people.
D. THAT IS THE FUCKING PLEASANTEST MOUSTACHE I HAVE EVER SEEN.
Try to befriend me on a Friday and you’ll have 100% success rate (probably.)
Most-used words on Friday commute:
Woo, pleasant, lovely, sunshine, payday, weekend, A Thing, goals, alcohol, goalcahol.
The bus, which I get almost every week, is a different story. At least thoughts-wise. Really it’s the same story when it comes to befriending me, as those who travel via bus on a Friday often bond over their shared experience of Hell. It is both a beautiful and scarring experience.
00.00 – 00.30 – WOOOHOOOO I AM EN ROUTE, BYE AWFUL LONDON, YES NORTH! How long has it been? Only thirty minutes. Oh.
00.30 – 01.30 – Four-and-a-half hours left. Oh my god, four-and-a-half hours. How will I live for four-and-a-half hours? Honestly, will this journey ever end? Should’ve eaten my sandwich more slowly, would’ve given me something to do… (Cue visions of self eating sandwich in caterpillar-like manner, nibbling in slow-mo at crusts in bug-fashion, as opposed to swallowing pack-up whole like a neglected snake.)
01.30 – 02.00 – I should really update my iPod. This is all shit.
02.00 – 02.02 – Still three hours. Oh my god.
02.00 – 02.05 – Should have waited to savour my book for this journey instead of reading it on boring commute. What was I thinking!? *Stares at fingerprint markings on window for lack of anything better to occupy self with*
02.05 – 03.00 – Over halfway there. Worried about using all internet allowance on phone. Will sit and think deep thoughts. Hmm. Deep thoughts.
03.00 – 03.01 – Perhaps will try and sleep.
03.03 – 03.10 – An hour must have passed while I slept – oh.
03.10 – 03.30 – I wonder what everyone else is doing? What film is that guy watching? No, don’t stop the bus for a cigarette break, I just want to get there! Please!
03.30 – 03.40 – Okay, someone on this bus is smoking weed.
03.40 – 04.00 – ONE HOUR, ONE HOUR, ONE HOUR. Think I smell quite bad. Should probably try and make self beautiful before I leave, so that boyfriend thinks that I am some sort of magical butterfly, who recuperates oneself without a problem after five hours on disgusting vehicle.
04.00 – 04.45 – I REALLY HATE THIS BUS, WHY IS IT SO SLOW, I AM NEVER GETTING IT AGAIN. NEVER EVER. WOULD RATHER BE DESTITUTE WOMAN IN RAGS RIDING ON NICELY-LIT TRAIN INSTEAD OF WOMAN WITH COMFORTABLE SAVINGS ROTTING AWAY IN DARK TANK ON WHEELS.
04.45 – 05.00 – So close. So close. Oh god. Taste freedom.
05:00 – Woohoo, we’re here! *Promptly forgets the whole experience and buys tickets for same ordeal for the following week*
Last Friday I got a coach from London to Leeds which was two hours late, the driver didn’t know where he was going, somebody projectile vomited all over the toilets, people were getting smashed on Carling in the back and the whole thing smelled of a fag-butt. A girl near to me considered buying litre of vodka at one stop because she could think of nothing else that would dissuade the pain. I agreed with her. 100% friendship success rate.
However after this experience I genuinely think that I might become a train-convert. For real, this time.
Conclusion? Commuting is a pain in the balls but it’s not all bad, just expensive and full of simmering anger (but also unlikely friendships and food-dreams.) In the future, I am sure that people will be able to teleport so that you don’t have to do the time-wasting pain of getting from A to B. As it is, we currently live like postmodern nomads, except that instead of owning cool ponchos and the useful ability to tell which way North is at all times, we try to sleep on badly-padded chairs and subtly eavesdrop on our peers.
My current commuting anthem: