Thursday, 12 February 2004

Tube Mice

I had forgotten the delights of morning tube rush hour. Standing in a crowded carriage with strangers' bodies pressing against yours at strategic points: bum to hip, arm to back, arm brushing head, breath on neck ...

The crowd decreased at Kings Cross. A mother with four special needs teenagers got on who were lacking both in spacial awareness and some balance. Toe dodging ensued.

As we travelled along one man's visible distress showed in an increasingly vigorous manifestation: first he was humming, then drumming fingers against the light as he held the pole, then rearranging his bag and coat, then slight twitching, then neck rolls, then severe twitching and watch checking, neck goes red, finally arrived at Warren Street where he got off - much to his own relief I expect.

And I can't stand those people who lean on the pole so that you can't hold onto it - its not a leaning post, its a handrail.

Finally I found a smile (it was getting to be one of those kinds of journeys where I was thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have to do this regularly anymore). The man reading the BBC Leadership Programme paper suddenly got to a chirpy tune on his walkman and started on-the-spot dancing and mime singing.

And after all that even the air of Oxford Street felt fresh and sweet.

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