It’s All Tube Much: Notes on the other passengers

The tube strike. It’s 10am and I’m already kind of sick of hearing about it. Although I wrote this last night and I scheduled it, so ‘I’ of the past (present) am guessing that ‘I’ of the (present) future will be sick of hearing about it. Holy tenses, Batman!

Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I’m probably sick of hearing about it by now so with that in mind, I assume other people will be too, and I apologise for bringing it up more than necessary.

This isn’t even technically about the strike. It’s about the bit before. You know, the bit where TFL warned us not to be on the tube after 6pm, and then lots of peoples’ offices let them go a bit early, and then people started getting nervous and leaving even earlier until what you actually saw when approaching any tube station were hordes of  people coming from every direction, pretending to be casual, and then just breaking into a run as they got overwhelmed with the tension of it all.

My train was a lot busier than it usually is, considering I unashamedly live in the Suburbia at the very arse end of the Jubilee Line, and with that business came every character imagineable. I couldn’t get over the sheer number and variety of people in that tube carriage with me and, in an effort to practice my observation skills (and because I was so crammed in I couldn’t physically hold a book out in front of me if I tried) I wrote a list of people I saw on the tube.

You lucky, lucky readers:

  1. Woman reading pornographic book and thinking nobody would realise because it was on a Kindle (reading over the shoulder is alive and well, lady).
  2. Man holding with epic B.O. in only one armpit, causing panic in at least half a dozen people around him 50% of the time he moved his arms around.
  3. Man with ears so dirty I couldn’t unsee them. Or stop staring. Note to self: Expect nightmares.
  4. Woman having Eastenders-worthy shouty conversation on the phone, about which I have a long list of follow-up questions that I couldn’t ask because she definitely would’ve punched me.
  5. Group of banker-types who just left Wimbledon and felt the need to relive it very loudly.
  6. Terrifying elderly man who demanded priority seat from an even elderlier elderly man. Old man fight.
  7. Small child wanting attention.
  8. Medium-sized child wanting attention.
  9. Large child wanting attention.
  10. Woman developing an eye twitch because she clearly shares my belief that we should have child-free tube carriages. Especially at rush hour. Especially especially in ‘if you don’t get home now, you won’t get home at all’-style mass-panic-induced rush hours.
  11. Group of ladies with Gins in Tins who didn’t bring enough to share with the class.
  12. Guy whose eye I caught and briefly thought he was flirting.
  13. Girl standing directly behind me who the guy I thought was flirting was actually looking at.

And, to top it all off, girl standing in the middle of the carriage getting in literally everybody’s way because she suddenly decided that she was a 25-year-old Harriet The Spy who needed to creep everybody out by staring at every little thing.

Um, My bad.

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