Commuting is a strange activity.
The journey in has become an opportunity to catch up with friends around the world, using the wonders of modern technology (I am still trying get my head around that – sitting on a train to Fenchurch Street and chatting away to a friend thousands of miles away as if they are the other end of the carriage). The journey home is an opportunity to order my thoughts, perhaps write a personal email or two or, if I have a drunken, leering prat next to me, to pretend I am asleep. (Just occasionally, it is a good chance to catch up on sleep!) The tube is often a hassle, people pushing and shoving and I try to lose myself in a Blackberry Sudoku.
Commuting has its own routines and, with iPods, Kindles and iPads becoming a part of the regular commuter armoury, we become very defensive our own little worlds and find intrusions into it intensely irritating. (Is it irrational for me to be extremely wound up at people eating fast food on late evening trains – something which strikes me as an unnecessary intrusion into my nasal cavities!).
I don’t know if it is our traditional British reserve, but we get very suspicious of the stranger who starts talking to us as we journey together to another place. I’ve had that reaction, too, which is odd, as I’ve always enjoyed public transport abroad precisely because people seem much happier to talk on buses, trams and trains. Let’s face it, Jonathan Harker would have been in a lot more trouble with The Count if he hadn’t struck up conversation with the Transylvanian locals in his horse-drawn carriage.
Every now and then, though, something happens that makes me smile, shakes my reservations and reminds me how much fun it can be to lose our inhibitions and be a little more human and a little less robotic.
A friend shared this link with me – and I am sharing it with you.
Well done, Adam Street Singers. If they need tenors, perhaps I’ll join…
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