I could feel the bile rising once upon a time. I am stranger danger phobic, a germ avoider and one of the many ‘Mufasaed’ for moving too slow. I was not made of commuter cloth. But that was in the beginning when I still missed my Volvo and thought transport was a gentle drive and someone else filled the petrol tank.
I hear soft shuffling to the platform in Wimbledon. Mind the bullet trains if thoughts of suicide are not on the to-do list for the day. As always, I stop at the usual spots for coffee, baguettes and biltong. Good friends they are; Starbucks, Snoggies and the secret baguette fairy responsible for thirty pounds of misery, but I cannot break the addiction quite yet. Ok, it’s Upper Crust. Ting, ting, mind the step, hug the Metro and find a place to sit, any one of said fabric that makes you wish you did not have the leetle dress on (itching ensues). This is when all those angst-filled days of what the spoilt person I was melt away. I am in the cauldron of life, with free shows on the second. I am watching life happen in a carriage, and life happening outside my window. I am filled with an explicable sense of joy.
History passes by. Future glass comes into view. London is never still, never satisfied, like a mistress who cannot accept her place , she wants to be prettier, more important and trendier than the rest. — with homage to tradition and kind.
Being pushed, loved-up, and doused in a humanity of smells could be a little repulsive. I don’t mind. I’m looking at the Vauxhall, MI5, Yoga Studios, Graffiti and the Shard coming into view. Had my hot coffee to boost the cells into action, done the Metro, saw a few who endorse getting old and silly at the same time: Hello Grandpa with the silver pony tail and watch perfect make-up applications in a rocking train. Who the hell can be bored with any of it? And still I cannot put my finger on it — why do I after all these years still get a thrill out the experience and seeming, one of the few.
I don’t do it everyday and kneel to those who do. I love things that work and, if they don’t do so well, apologise. I love watching sometimes and not always doing . I can be part of another’s story without talking. Perhaps, for me, part of the euphoria is knowing that I count and don’t count. This is a non judgemental, classless space, like Waterloo, and you are one of thousands, but still as important as you want yourself to be. I get to choose how I am going to move forward today, what time suits me and which one of the thousands of offers of food, walkways, news items, views and experiences I want.
I hope to God I never lose the awe of living in London. Or the awe of taking the trains, the tubes, and seeing the variety of people I never knew would touch my life.