Every city probably has this divide on public transport. If you board at 8am, it’s full of people rustling their papers, cumbersomely trying to sip a Starbucks at the same time, and looking amusingly bright eyed as they contemplate another day of spreadsheets. Get on at 6.45, and the carriage is filled with men in fleeces with building company logos. They sit there, mostly with their eyes closed, looking quite resentful, tired and not exactly eager to get to wherever they’re going.
I seem to spend half my life getting from Northwest to Southeast London, and as we pull out of Bond Street station, I hold tight to the slightly greasy yellow pole, in anticipation of the sharp turn in the tunnel between Bond Street and Green Park on the Jubilee Line. The lady standing in front of me is completely absorbed in the Financial Times, and she falls backwards, into me. I can’t really steady her, since I’m holding a large coffee in my free hand, so in her attempts at regaining her balance, she knocks a substantial amount of coffee all over her cream coat, and some of it splashes back onto the sleeve of my grey wool suit.
She apologises, I apologise, in that way that one does when one is not at fault, but just sorry that anything happened at all. Her coat was completely ruined, but she was busy offering to sponge my suit. I felt bad. Her absorption had seemingly been caused by the article she was reading on oil hitting $100 a barrel.
So I got to work at 7.30, went for a run, went to a vendor meeting, wasted a bit of time walking between offices, got some arsy emails from someone whose process flows I’d forgotten to send (well, when I say “forgotten to send”, I mean “forgotten to even start”), so I spent a few hours knocking up something and wrote a “dog ate my homework” kind of reply. Then I worked on a presentation until 8 pm, went home and watched something on TV about class and education – which amusingly featured the office I had just left.
I’ll probably bump into the lady with the formerly cream coat for many years to come.
- Man Apologizes While Robbing Store: Most Polite Thief Ever (Watch) (manolith.com)
- ‘Rush hour from hell’ on the Tube (independent.co.uk)