Sunday, 24 January 2010

Musings - The London Underground

Have you seen this man?  
Ok I lied to you, and I am not sorry. I did not post more frequently this week as it was confirmed my camera was 'thieved' by some scumbag on the course. I feel that a blog without pictures is like chips without the salt 'n'vinegar. Pointless. So my replacement camera is here now, but I wont bore you with last weeks happenings at Tante Marie until this evening. For now you will have to make do with my musings about 'the tube' in London. What has this got to do with cooking you ask? Nothing, but you are here now so shhhhhh yourself and listen....

Yesterday I travelled from Woking to White Hart Lane to watch Tottenham vs Leeds in the FA Cup, a game that was frustratingly drawn 2-2. But that is neither here nor there. I travelled by train and then by tube and noticed not for the first time how down right weird these people from “Landan Tawn” are.

A busy tube - is that the correct terminology?

So what is the deal with Londoners? Specifically those that frequent that wonder of a public transport system... the tube? Can you catch AIDs from making eye contact with a stranger on the tube? Has the government been covering this up? It seems like a silly question to ask if I am honest, but that is the only thing I could think of to explain how if someone makes the slightest hint of eye contact with someone else, theirs eyes dart away so fast their corneas must suffer some sort of whiplash in the process. It is the weirdest phenomena I have witnessed, yet makes a great game if you are as bored as I was. Just keep finding people to make eye contact with, when they glance away keep staring at them, they will look back eventually and when they do, throw them a wink... it freaks them right out! Its almost as good as getting into a lift that is full of people, and not turning round! You stand there, facing into the lift and smile and nod at everyone and watch how this blatant disregard for lift etiquette gets them completely weirded (don't think that is a word, but I like it!) out. Good times.

And god forgive the person that speaks on the tube, even more so if it is to a stranger. Yesterday I witnessed on multiple occasions that these tube users will not utter one word to anyone even if it is clearly in their best interest to do so. At one stage the train was packed, we were like sardines crushed together in a can. The train stops. The doors open. A few people get off, a few more get on. I watched a man try and force his way through the sardines without so much as a word. He tried to slip and slide between the bodies of strangers forced naturally close to one another with out making a sound. I assumed he must have been either an Mi5 agent covertly tracking a suspect, or a Ninja assassin slowly creeping towards his target unnoticed. Truth was not as exciting as I hoped, he was a guy trying to get off at that stop but could not bring himself to say something as ground breaking as “excuse me” or “sorry, can I squeeze past this is my stop”. I assume he must have been in fear of offending the whole of London with his bold and forward thinking, that or he didn't want to distract them from their strenuous efforts to not make eye contact with one another. I must say I did find it quite funny when the doors shut and he was still no where near the door! Next stop for you laddie boy!!

Another classic I have witnessed before occurred as I strolled towards the correct platform to take me north on the Victoria line, a gentleman comes flying past me at a near sprint to try and get to the train. He misses it by five seconds if that. Then the most amazing thing happened, he went nuts. He literally freaked out and started shouting, swearing and screaming while hurling himself about in apparent disgust at himself and the tube service. Very peculiar behaviour indeed and it got me thinking why would one get so upset of such a trivial matter... but before I could finish this thought, actually, before I could barely start my thought, I was rudely interrupted by the next train arriving! They run every god damn two minutes... TWO MINUTES... unless you are drowning two minutes is not really a long time. Have a think of what you could do in two minutes... not much, you could probably make a brew, but you couldn't drink it. Two minutes, all that fuss over two minutes... sort your life out sir!!!

White Hart Lane Stadium - Home to Tottenham Hotspur FC

So then it happened, as it always seems to happen to me... my meeting with the local nut job. I was off the tube at this point but I feel I may as well continue on with this rant for my own psychological well being. As I awaited my father to meet me outside White Hart Lane, the resident nut job decided I would like nothing more than to become his new best friend on a chilly Saturday evening. As he began telling me about how the police horses were freaking him out I could do nothing than do the the very English thing of smiling and using the occasional nod all the while wondering how the hell to best get away from this guy... but in a polite manner of course. The conversation he was having at me was at a intellectual level I am not yet ready for...

“you see mate, if they used tigers instead of horses it wouldn't be so bad, tigers will only bite you on the shoulder, but you get a horse.... mind you it has to be a clever horse, and not all horses are clever... the horse can kick the tiger and kill it. They are the same as elephants that's why elephants don't get killed by tigers, they are smarter than us. But they always use these horses and they scare the shit out of me, horses and tigers, they freak me right out.”

Seemingly this is not one of my mans "clever horses"

And this continued for a few more minutes until thankfully my phone rang and I could beat as hasty retreat to meet my father over the road. I must say he was a polite nutter and thanked me for my time and for “talking” to him. I wonder if he is on Twitter or Facebook..... might have been nice to keep in touch....


1 comment:

  1. Another neat trick if you travel during the rush hour is to obviously read someone else's newspaper on the tube or train. Over their shoulder, sitting opposite, doesn't matter. Freaks them out big style and they go to all sorts of lengths to stop you while all the time trying not to be obvious about it.


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