On commuting

I’m not an average commuter. I don’t get on the same train every morning, off to the office for a 9 to 5 day.

Partly because every day is different, partly because my hours never work out as 9 to 5, and partly because I don’t have an office to go to (unless you count my corner in Caffe Nero as an office, and you probably don’t).

However, I do occasionally find myself amongst the commuters, usually in the form of busy Metro rides into town, often to make my own wee commute to Durham, and it’s not an experience that I particularly enjoy.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself on an extremely packed Metro and the commuter rage struck. A man berated me for allowing my bag to touch him (bear in mind that this was one of those rush hour situations where the ‘sardines in a tin’ analogy is beyond perfect), and, in a moment that was both totally un-British and totally un-Ellidh, I didn’t mutter an insincere apology, I actually berated him right back.


And then, today, I had another commuter-type experience. I stayed with Ed and Hannah in Leeds last night (post-Bradford CU), and this morning Ed dropped me off at Headingley, their local station, to catch the train into the big city. In a classically miserable rush hour travel way it was peeing it down with rain, and the train was fifteen minutes late, and, of course, once it arrived it was jammed. Everyone looked very much like they were late and wet and on their way to work, and the man standing millimetres away from me was wearing aftershave that smelt like a combination of mint and wee, and then, in a moment of pure joy, the train driver announced our arrival at Leeds station with an apology for the delay, blamed on the signalman at Poppleton, who’d slept through his alarm and not made it in on time. Comedy reason, and comparative relief that at least none of us started our day with a mistake that made half of West Yorkshire late for work.

Good times. And a great joy to have a job that doesn’t require this kind of journey on a daily basis.

In summary: commuting.

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