Winging Life Since 1995

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Realities of the Underground


Edgware 2 mins. The black boxed sign shines above as you slow down from running miles to make sure you don't miss this exact tube even though there is another one exactly one minute behind. You walk to the part of the platform you do every single day and stand in the place where you bet yourself 20 quid the door will stop, and you'll gracefully waltz into the tube and take a seat. But that was an ideal world...

The tube pulls in as your sweaty mess of a body trips into the platform to catch the train, knickers riding higher, never to be seen again. A huge group of people swarm the doors and you hop jog to the nearest one, patiently waiting to get on while an announcement can be heard all around - “Please let passengers off the train before boarding” just as three grumpy corporate workers and one savage woman in a full velour tracksuit elbow their way onto the train without giving two sh*ts about anyone else; as long as they get on. After being pushed back and forth multiple times, it's suddenly your turn. You take the step up and then it hits you. The smelly, sweaty heat suffocates your lungs and starts to stick to your skin seeping into every layer of clothing you wish you had removed prior to arriving. It consumes you. Stuck to the sides of about seven human beings, you take a deep breath knowing that if you were ever duct taped to a man's armpit in the Sahara desert, you'd survive it. Then, the hot flushes start and you can't even breathe or take your coat off and the beads of sweat are developing on your forehead so quickly that you just pray the armpits don't closely follow.

It's time to get a look at your surroundings and work out what you really just got yourself into. Deep down you know everyone is either going to have their backs to you or judging you with hollow eyes, so you rotate your neck the best you can to get the gist of it. The hair of the lady closely in front of you tickles your face so you quickly retreat into the position you're stuck in, just crossing your fingers that everyone gets off at the next stop to free up some space.

The first stop comes into sight and you eye up who you think is going to get off. A few stops later and a seat opens up. A SEAT. Only a few shuffles away it becomes a fight for survival as you catch the eye of the woman on the other side ploughing through the carriage. Time slows down and you begin to move, butt first, hoping that a gap appears so you can slide in on it before it's too late. The sharpness of your nails drifts through your head and it's one on one now. Just as you think you are going to come out the champion someone new comes into the equation and goes in for the win. Bastard.

The train's filled up even more at this point and it's nearly your stop. Military exit strategies begin to form in your mind and panic is rippling down the nape of your neck as you wonder if you'll ever manage to get out of this death trap. The train slows… The doors open… GET OUT OF MY F*CKING WAY you shout silently inside as in reality you're quietly mumbling ‘excuse me’ under your breath while sliding your body against a sandwich of people, slowly making your way to the door. All of a sudden it's as if you're being sucked back and you have to go against the force of this black hole behind you and then... You're off. Resting bitch face at the ready, prepared to elbow through the station.
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