Mind the Gap: Some General Observations About London Travel


I was having a conversation recently with Afrocentric and Nsoromma about travel in London and it was interesting to say the least. Travel in London has the potential to be soul-destroying or life-affirming. Hopefully, it'll lean towards the latter if you take note of some of these general observations. Now place your tongue firmly in cheek and remember these the next time you venture out with your (increasingly expensive) travelcard!

1. If there are empty seats available anywhere on the bus/ tube/ train, DO NOT SIT NEXT TO ME! You have just given your thanks to God above when you get on a half-empty tube/ train carriage or bus when a leering man decides to park himself right next to you. Never mind the 15 other empty seats available. It's Boris Johnson's law that somebody must sit uncomfortably close to you, stinking of stale cigarettes, whilst trying to rub himself against you. With that goes your 27 minutes of thinking up what excuse you're going to give work about why you're late (again), instead, begins the game of how far away you can edge away from the person whilst they're trying to physically sit on your lap....

2. It is not proper transport etiquette to stare at your fellow passengers during the daily rush hour. Yes we're a city of people watchers but one must be subtle with it. So when the 6"3 man wearing a tartan dress, bovver boots, and sporting acid pink hair steps onto the Northern line at Camden, feel free to stare at him all you like but only via the reflection of the windows! I can't vouch for your safety once the words that strike fear into every Londoner's heart are uttered: "What you looking at?!"

3. One must remember that the South Londoner is a different breed of Londoner, in particular those that hail from the South Eastern region. Eye contact is seen in one of two ways: a declaration of war, or an indication of willingness to marry a person. A personal music player and an engrossing book are your only friends in this part of town.

4. There's no point running for the bus. Really. Most bus drivers take malicious pleasure in watching you frantically waving at them to stop via their side mirrors. 171 bus drivers in particular take great enjoyment in waiting until you're a a mere metre away from the stop and then zooming away into traffic with enough skills to rival Jenson Button. If you're lucky and a driver takes pity on you, by the time you pant and heave your way onto the bus winded by the whole 20 metres you had to run, the hostile stares of your fellow passengers will be enough to ruin your morning. They'll have to wait a whole 36 seconds as you simultaneously hunt for your Oyster card (you probably left it on the kitchen table) whilst trying not to display just how unfit you really are.

These are just some of the few recurring travel observations we made. How's travel different where you live?

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7 opinionated people have something to say:

Friday's Afro said...

hahahahahahaha! whew! That is jokes and true, don't sit next to me, don't talk to me, don't look at me, also my travel pet hate - Swine flu spreading sneezes, urgh! My sister (nearly) always says bless you, whereas I just say 'I rebuke you!' Sorry, but urrrrrrrrgggghhh!

Anonymous said...

Pretty much the same for me here in DC.

I once heard it straight from the mouth of a very heavy set woman that she, and most (I really dont want to use the word) obese people seek out the "skinny" people on the trains to sit next to so they can have more room?! I'm skinny, yes but we both pay the same amount to have a seat to ourselves, please stay in your seat, dont encroach on my space for the duration of my travel thank you!

Oh goodness, how can I forget the tourists who make you miss the train every single time because they dont know where they are going? Thats fine, but please step to the side and allow people who need to get to places on time get on the train.

Ok enough. I dont want to go on any more. I'm beginning to sound very angry.

Shels said...

lol..'wat u looking at?'... yesterday, i smiled at some chic, the way she frowned at me..hmm, i was like yo, British people are not friendly...
oh and last week i got fined 25pounds cos i din touch. 25 pounds cos i got a 50% discount off my fine..lmao!!!! It wasn't my fault oh, i just couldnt find the touch sensor thing at canary wharf and i was in a hurry...me i thought they din even have some...twas the DLR...hmm, i wasn't amused at all...but i smiled and said sorry, and i got 50% off...smh!

Sankofa said...

@Friday's Afro "I rebuke you"- that's deeeep lol!That's why me and bottle of hand sanitiser shall never be parted.

@Anonymous Woooow at the obese woman. Haha! I'm most definitely on the larger side but actively seeking out skinny people to sit next to? Lol! Tourists are the bane of my existence. Why are they so slooooow? If you don't know where you're going, must you consult your tube map slap bang in the middle of the platform? KMT

@Shels That inspector conned you. He wasn't doing you a favour. The standard fine is £25. It only goes up to £50 if you don't pay within 2 weeks. You should appeal your fine though. £25 nah be small money these days oh! Write a letter to TFL (I think you can find the info on tfl.gov.uk) explaining what happened. They may take pity on you. Good luck!

Afrocentric said...

Haha! jokes! I don't even bother run for the bus anymore. Even if I am running late. I just don't want to give the driver the satisfaction of seeing me run, so he can pretend to not see me and shut his doors, even when he is stuck in traffic. KMT!

Femme Lounge said...

lol! oh yeah people should learn how to stare at others without making them feel uncomfortable.

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

Urgh, some people just need to realise sharing public transport is NOT NOT NOT an invitation to sidle up to people and harass them! KMT!!! Grrrr

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