Zombies. Commuters must be zombies. Whilst I was travelling to attend interviews in London, this is the conclusion I came to. When else does a group of people doing exactly the same thing for for a good half an hour every day completely ignore each other's existence? I think this is the first blog post I've ever written that doesn't contain a photo. Why? Because there is no way I would feel anywhere near comfortable taking a photo whilst surrounded by zombie-commuters. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
For instance, this morning I caught a man’s eye on the train. (Not in that, way, I’m engaged people). We were both looking around the carriage (how dare we) when we happened to look at each other for a split second and it felt like (I’m sure for him as well) that I’d broken some age-old commuting law: Though shalt not make eye contact with another commuter. Don’t even think about actually speaking to a stranger on your journey to work: I tried this once and was met with a colossal wall of silence. On Friday morning though, a small commuting miracle happened. One gentlemen was in such jovial end-of-the-week spirits that he spoke two whole sentences when I asked if I might take the seat next to him! Obviously this act of human interaction did mean some weird and worried looks from the other passengers, but I was telling everyone who would listen over the weekend that I’d actually spoken to someone on my commute!
When I first started partaking in this crazy circus that we call the daily commute, I found it really quite disheartening to see so many people sit in silence with blank (or grumpy) faces; it made me consider how self-absorbed and selfish people will naturally be when put in a monotonous routine and a long working day. I kind of want to just stand up in the train and tell everyone that it's not that bad! We have the opportunity to work and provide for ourselves and our families in a pretty amazing city, while so many people in the world would give anything to do that. I have a feeling such a speech wouldn't go down to well with my fellow commuters, but I'm going to try to not fall into the seemingly commuter culture of self-pity and boredom, and give a smile every now and then.
So it seems I've committed myself to at probably at least five years of commuting. It's certainly not the most welcoming way to travel, but hopefully I can make it a just little more welcoming and little less zombie-like for the next new commuter.