All it takes is one bad commute to make you want to sell up, sack off the city and move to the countryside. Assuming The Archers is an accurate representation of real life; the people there are very friendly.
This week, I was called a STUPID BITCH by a person I asked – very politely – to move aside so that I could get off the train.
It hit me like a punch to the stomach, hot water to the throat, a kipper round the cheek. I was astounded, and likely to cry at any moment should anybody ask if I was ok. I’m not sure they’ve designed a hazard warning sign to say Floor slippery due to falling mascara yet but they should.
Speaking to strangers like that can only go on for so long. Call me a stupid bitch and all you’ll get is a flabbergasted look and a quivering jaw. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to respond with wit and expletives to make Malcolm Tucker proud, but I’m much more effective on paper. But say it to somebody feistier and I can imagine a hand sandwich may come your way. It’s a risk the shouty ones take.
And we’ve all met our fair share of them. The ones who just can’t contain their frustration with the world any longer and have to try and make our lives as bad as our existence is apparently making theirs.
But to these people I say this:
We’re all angry, sweetheart.
Nobody likes being cramped so tight in a train that a sardine would upgrade his property description to ‘Penthouse’ if he saw us.
Nobody enjoys queuing behind 35 people who don’t understand how a queue works just to buy a tray of sushi.
Nobody likes bad weather.
Nobody takes pleasure from an announcement to say the train which should have arrived ten minutes ago is running on time.
We’re all livid. Just writing the list makes my brain hurt.
But most of us keep it to ourselves. In the interests of perspective, maintaining a healthy heart and avoiding getting a punch in the chops, we keep the anger inside. Or at least wait until we get home and vent our frustrations on Twitter – the modern day equivalent of screaming into a pillow before a captive audience.
Because living here is our choice. We could go somewhere else if we liked. But there will still be people. Perhaps not eight million sweaty people all trying to get to north London by 9am, but people nonetheless, who will probably still manage to piss you off.
I am baffled every day as to why I have financially and emotionally invested in staying in a place where travelling through train station barriers at anything less than the speed of light is a crime punishable by sighing.
And I’m sure one day I will hang up my Oyster card, bid farewell to the underground, leave and not look back. I consider doing it every day.
But until then, all I want to do is keep my head down, read my book, and remember to get off at the right stop.
If you would just be so kind as to let me through, I’ll be on my way.